NATO AWACS Request may hinge on Germany

Army Gen. David Petraeus, who commands US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, has requested NATO E-3 AWACS aircraft to alleviate management of air traffic over Afghanistan. Since that nation lacks an integrated air traffic control system, USAF AWACS platforms currently manage the increasingly busy Afghan airspace, but Petraeus would like additional capability next year, reports Reuters. Headquarters NATO is evaluating the request, which will then go to the member states for approval. It will likely meet German opposition, reports Der Spiegel, a German news magazine. German personnel make up a third of the multinational AWACS force. But the Afghan war is unpopular in Germany and the German government might be hard pressed to win support for the participation of up to 100 German airmen for the mission, according to the magazine. If deployed, the NATO airplanes would likely operate from Kona, Turkey.