Around 300 staff from the country's foreign intelligence agency (BND) are supporting the Afghan mission, either on deployment there or from the service's HQ, Schindler said.
“We have to know when a new explosive trap has just been placed in which side street. Based on our intelligence we issue alerts, and our alerts save lives.”
Schindler said that the agency's work was based on informants but also listening in to phone conversations and gathering communications data from the internet.
The spy chief made a point to defend German intelligence sharing with other countries, including personally identifying information – which he said was only used to identify members of terrorist organizations.
He was responding to the sharp criticism the BND has received following revelations about the extent of German co-operation with the US National Security Agency (NSA) and other foreign spy agencies.
The BND currently shares information with Mongolia, Hungary, Denmark, Azerbaijan, Jordan, and other countries with soldiers deployed in Afghanistan.
While the BND is tasked with helping protect German soldiers deployed abroad, it also helps civilians who have been taken hostage or kidnapped.
“In the last five years we've been involved in the resolution of more than 30 kidnapping cases,” Schindler said. “In four cases we supplied the location where the hostages were being held.”
The BND has also acted as a go-between in delicate hostage negotiations between bitter opponents Hezbollah and Israel, Schindler said.
Germany currently has around 1,500 troops in Afghanistan.
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