Thursday, May 15, 2008

Afstan: US and command in the south; Canadian general gets involved

I wonder if our government will say anything about this (you won't find it in our media but you will in Xinhua):
BRUSSELS, May 14 (Xinhua) -- NATO is considering changing its command in southern Afghanistan from current rotation between countries to a permanent commander, alliance officials said Wednesday.

Recommendations from ISAF Commander Gen. Dan McNeill are being provided to NATO's Military Committee, which will discuss the issue, Military Committee Chairman Gen. Raymond Henault told reporters.

"I don't know what the outcome of those recommendations will be. We'll have to wait until the chain of command has made formal recommendations to the Military Committee," he said.

Gen. Henault said the 26 NATO allies will take "due consideration" of the recommendations.

"We'll have to come to an agreement ultimately on those recommendations, look at the pros and cons as we always do, takingin to very strong and due consideration of SACEUR's recommendations."

"Changes will not occur until that whole series of discussions has occurred and the decision making has been completed in that context," he said.

Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) Gen. John Craddock said Thursday in Washington that options are open. He added that "from a military perspective, unity of command does make a lot of sense."

But he stressed that a decision has to be made in the political sector [emphasis added].

The SACEUR raised this issue at a chiefs of staff meeting on Wednesday at NATO headquarters, said Military Committee spokesman Colonel Brett Boudreau.

He said the Military Committee is aware that there is a view to have an American as permanent commander of NATO troops fighting in southern Afghanistan.

Command in the region has been alternating between Britain, Canada and the Netherlands, the three countries which, together with the United States, have combat troops in the south.

The three countries may have a point of view although the SACEUR is in charge of NATO operations, said Boudreau.

There really must be a lot of diplomatic activity behind the scenes.


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