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Camp Marmal is the largest base of the Bundeswehr outside of Germany. It is located by the side of Mazar-i-Sharif Airport in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan, at the foot of the Hindu Kush mountains. The camp was opened in September 2005 and has expanded in recent years. The camp gets its name from the bordering Marmal Mountains.
Camp Marmal hosts the staff of the German Armed Forces in Afghanistan, Regional Command North of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), as well as the Quick Reaction Force (QRF).
Major General Hans-Werner Fritz has been commander of RC-North since 20 June 2010, as well as leader of the German ISAF contingent and commanding general of the German Special Forces Division, serving under the NATO ISAF commanding general, U.S. General David Petraeus. Major General Fritz's deputy commander is U.S. Army Brigadier General Sean Mulholland.
More than 5,000 soldiers are currently stationed at Camp Marmal. Additional forces come from the United States, Croatia and 14 other NATO nations. From Camp Marmal, ISAF soldiers conduct work in Northern Afghanistan related to physical security and joint civil/military projects, in addition to the major task of supplying the five Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRT).
RC-North supports five PRTs: Kunduz, Feyzabad, Meymaneh, Pol-e Khomri and Mazar-e Sharif. RC-North supports and protects the nine provinces under their military administration through reconstruction efforts. Foremost is cooperation with Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) and Afghan security forces.
A large airborne detachment consisting of Tornado reconnaissance jets used to be stationed there but due were redeployed back to Germany in 2010. CH-53 and UH-60 helicopters are currently stationed there.
The 4th Combat Aviation Brigade was replaced by the 2-227TH Aviation Regiment, Task Force Lobos earlier this year and provide AH-64 Apache, UH-60 Blackhawk and CH-47 Chinook support throughout RC North. The airfield is currently under a large amount of construction and expansion for future operations.
The base hosts a large medical center for ISAF forces and also local civilians.
The base has been heavily involved in supporting German combat operations in Afghanistan in early 2009.
The German military hospital was completed in 2007. Its primary purpose is to provide emergency services to the ISAF troops. German civilians in Afghanistan and aid workers are also served, either under contract or in cases of emergency. Local Afghans are also cared for, as capacity and means permit.
Along with two operating units, there are specialists, outpatient clinics, intensive and intermediate care stations. The hospital, pharmacy, and laboratory have approximately 80 military personnel.
Camp Nidaros is the Norwegian part of the camp and is located within Camp Marmal itself. It began operating in 2006.
The German Chaplains are offering space for recreation and spiritual care. There is also a Norwegian chapel inside Camp Nidaros.
There is a recreation facility at Camp Marmal called Planet Mazar located in the atrium. Planet Mazar offers pool tables, dart boards, foosball tables and a poker table.
There is also an Internet Café in which service members and contractors can connect to the pay-as-you-go internet with laptops or use the desktops provided. Internet cards can be purchased at Planet Mazar.
The German Fitness Center is located by The Atrium. All personnel must change shoes prior to working out.
There are two cafés located in the atrium, The Lounge and K2.
There is one restaurant located in the atrium, The Oases. Various food items, coffee, sodas, and alcohol are sold at Planet Mazar, The Lounge, K2 and The Oases.
A bazaar is located on base. It is open every day but Friday. Local vendors sell a variety of items such as military paraphernalia, loose gem stones, Afghan rugs, DVDs, local cell phones and electronics.
Cell phones and DVD's are no longer allowed to be sold at the bazaar per the German military. This also includes cameras and MP3 players, or anything else that can store data. The Norwegian PX has basic cell phones for sale between 40 and 60 Euros. Cell phone SIM cards and topup cards for Roshan and Etislat are still available for sale at the bazaar and the Norwegian PX. Etislat has the best cell phone signal in the base area and most of RC North.
A barber shop is also available at the bazaar.
There are three dining facilities (DFAC) on Camp Marmal: a German, American and a Norwegian. The Norwegian DFAC is invite only for non-nordic personnel. All personnel are required to wash their hands when entering the dining facilities.
Green Bean Coffee, Pizza Hut, and Burger King are all located on the U.S. side of the base next to the PX, they all accept US Dollars or eagle cash. There is also a nice pizza restaurant on the second floor above the German PX within the Norwegian compound, they accept US Dollars, Euros, and eagle cash.
Most U.S. personnel are housed in air-conditioned tents, with generally 8-10 people per tent. Heat and A/C in the tents are sufficient year round, but one may want a fan for the hottest summer months.
All laundry must be in the white mesh bags issued to personnel upon arrival. The laundry facilities are run by Ecolog. Expect next day pickup.
There are two post offices located on Camp Marmal. All packages must also be thoroughly inspected by the PO personnel before it can be sealed.
There are Eagle Cash Machines located at the following locations: next to the German PX, the American PX, the U.S. Post Office, and the finance office. The Eagle Cash Machine located in front of finance is mostly used for withdrawing money. Personnel may also cash checks or draw advanced pay from the Finance Office the Beach House.
Sniperhill offers extensive Wi-Fi coverage over all of the U.S. parts of the base with some access points reaching surrounding Swedish, Finnish, and Norwegian compounds. A few access plans are available such as 1 day access, 7 day access, or 30 day access with speed levels up to 512 kbit/s, they accept credit cards or PayPal.
AGN (Afghan German Network) covers the German side of the base with Wi-Fi and similar plans as Sniperhill. There is some limited coverage on the U.S. side and various other areas.
Call2Home offers Wi-Fi and GSM services for the Dutch Forces on time based payments. Wi-Fi is also covering partially some other nations.
There are three PXs located on Camp Marmal.
The Norwegian PX accepts both euros, dollars, eagle cash and credit/debit cards. It has basic items such as shaving supplies, hygiene materials, snacks, drinks, cigarettes/cigars, and clothing items.
The German PX accepts both euros, dollars and eagle cash. It sells mostly clothing items.
The American PX accepts dollars and eagle cash. It sells snacks, drinks, electronics, and general hygiene supplies.