Germany's constitutional court has rejected a request by two lawmakers to prevent the deployment of German fighter jets in Afghanistan to support NATO forces there.

The lawmakers argued that sending the aircraft would entangle Germany in what the plaintiffs called "illegal operations" of the U.S. military. The two are from German Chancellor Angela Merkel's governing Christian Democratic party and its allied party, the Christian Social Union.

The two lawmakers went to court after Germany's lower house of parliament voted overwhelmingly Friday (405 - 157) to send the Tornado aircraft. The planes are to provide NATO forces with aerial images of the positions of Taleban fighters.

Opponents say the mission amounts to a combat role for the German planes. Germany has 3,000 troops in Afghanistan in the largely peaceful north, but it has come under pressure to take a more active role in the war.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.