Here’s to the dead. And the living.

The four German soldiers who died in last week’s Kabul suicide attack, Jörg Baasch, Andrejas Beljo, Helmi Jimenez-Paradies, and Carsten Kühlmorgen – the 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th German soldiers to die in a (publicly known) sort-of combat situation after World War Two – were honoured today in a special ceremony at Cologne airport.

Earlier today, they were bid farewell by their comrades and Acting Commander ISAF, the Dutch Brigadier General Bertholee, at Camp Warehouse, Kabul. As any decent leader, he knew he had to adress the future while not forgetting about what happened –

“We can show our respect for the sacrifice that our comrades made in only one way. Continue our mission as well as we can; show determination; and make clear that we will not be intimidated. That will also help to overcome our grief.”

Not surprisingly, their work has seen a spark of interest in recent days. I suppose one thing the public could do is preserve this interest and remember that all those international troops are in Afghanistan not only to help an increasingly isolated Afghan central government survive against resurfacing warlords, but because we believe that our very personal security is enhanced by doing so.

They are some some of those who make people carry balloons instead of bombs. And they have a website that describes some aspects of their life – and sometimes their death – in Kabul.