Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Afstan: Que para, para

Oh dear. French President Sarkozy, under domestic political pressure, sure seems to be backing off from sending an effective combat unit as had hitherto been expected:

France could send "a few hundred" extra troops to Afghanistan, French Prime Minister Francois Fillon has told MPs.

In a stormy National Assembly debate, he rejected opposition Socialist calls for a parliamentary vote on the plan.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy is expected to announce the details of a new deployment to Afghanistan at a Nato summit this week in Bucharest, Romania...

He told the National Assembly: "Our armed forces in Afghanistan may invest more in the command structures, particularly in Kabul, in training the Afghan army and in the units in the Afghan provinces.

"The numbers could be something like a few hundred extra soldiers."

An opinion poll on Monday said 68% of French people disapproved of any strengthening of the French troop presence in Afghanistan. Just 15% approved...

Mr Fillon reiterated French conditions to any new troop deployment, saying there must be faster reconstruction.

He also said by the summer of 2009 the Afghan army had to take responsibility for security around Kabul, where the bulk of French troops are based [emphasis added--that's a bit of an ultimatum, not that Canada could criticize].

And the French prime minister called on other Nato allies to boost their forces...
So are the French going to pressure the German, Italians or Spanish to engage in some combat? Especially when it looks like the French themselves are getting pieds froids?

ISAF forces map here.


Blogger Rivenshield said...

Told you.

3:13 p.m., April 01, 2008  
Blogger Positroll said...

"The numbers could be something like a few hundred EXTRA soldiers."
Well, if they draw down the numbers of troops in the Kabul area at the same time (like other countries, thanks to the improved ANA that should be able to control the Kabul area even with reduced ISAF numbers), it would still be possible to send 1000 paras to the east. Wait and see ...

Who knows, maybe the Germans will even send the 200 special forces (KSK) available under the OEF mandate to help the French. So far, the German government categorically refuses to send German soldiers to the south , just as Bush said he won't push Germany any longer for troops in the south . But - the French will be in the east ...

The advantage from a German politicians point of view:
- no new mandate necessary,
- no fighting together with the supposedly "trigerhappy cowboys" (U.S.)
- KSK usually acts without media coverage => no bad press if civilians get shot; you can always blame the French battle group (i.e. if the French media play along)
- no more / less whining from Nato that German troops don't fight.

9:06 a.m., April 02, 2008  

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