We have characterized 2.0 μm (aluminium-gallium-indium)(arsenide-antimonide) quantum-well diode lasers in pulsed operation (20–60 ns). A peak power of 1.25 W could be achieved. The near-field distribution on the output facet and the spectral output have been analyzed. Single transverse mode operation can only be maintained at low pulse currents. Above a certain current limit higher order modes occur and fluctuations between these modes have been resolved on a 10 ns time scale. The threshold for thermal and optical damage was investigated for ridge waveguide widths of 6, 8, and 16 μm. No systematic damage threshold could be determined up to current densities as high as 200 kA/cm2.