(Foto: Bundespresseamt/Julia Faßbender).

On 11 September 2001, the terror network Al-Qaeda attacked the United States, killing almost 3,000 people. The attacks led to a turning point in international politics, placing the fight against international terrorism at the forefront. For the first time in the history of NATO, Article V was invoked, demanding the military aid of all members. Gerhard Schröder promised the United Stated “unconditional solidarity,” but added that German would not support reckless military escapades. On 7 October 2001, the United States began an attack on Afghanistan in an effort to topple the Taliban regime and to fight Al-Qaeda. The following December, as part of its fight against international terrorism, the United Nations established in Afghanistan an International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) that included Germany’s armed forces. Schröder succeeded in getting a mandate at home for deployment by linking the decision with a vote of confidence in German parliament. While hosting the first International Conference on Afghanistan, which took place in Bonn in 2001, Germany started an initiative to create a transitional government and raise international support for the country’s reconstruction. Germany is scheduled to withdraw its forces in Afghanistan in 2014.