Friday, May 18, 2007

Danes to double strength in Afstan/Three Germans killed

The fighting Vikings are showing real class. Wake up Canadian opposition parties and pundits (Jim Travers, this means you).
In remarks to Danish troops at Camp Bastion in Helmand province, [Prime Minister Anders Fogh] Rasmussen touched on the recent death of a Danish soldier injured in a firefight at the end of April.

The soldier was the fourth Danish soldier to have been killed in Afghanistan and in his remarks the premier said that while tragic, the deaths had some meaning, Danish news agency Ritzau reported.

Rasmussen highlighted elections held since the Taliban were driven from power and that "women have been given rights and opportunities that they did not have before."

The Danish premier Thursday visited a Danish-funded school for girls and said that the visit "convinced" him that Denmark's involvement was worthwhile...

The Danish government and the main opposition parties have...agreed to almost double the current 330-strong Danish contingent [emphasis added] in Afghanistan.

Earlier this week, parliament began formal proceedings to approve the increase of the Danish contingent.

Soldiers who have served in Afghanistan have also called for the defence ministry and military high command to deploy four or five tanks as a means of improving security...[Via Afghanistan Watch]
Video of Danes in action at the Update here (I appear to have been a bit premature about the tanks in this earlier post).

Update: Any bets that this will be reported in the Canadian media or noticed by our pundits? I haven't seen anything about the troop increase either; I guess these things just don't fit the script:
Denmark will not leave Afghanistan in the lurch, said Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen during a visit to that country, the Copenhagen Post reported.

He ensured the country that in addition to leaving troops in Afghanistan until the country is secure, Denmark will also continue to focus on humanitarian projects.

Rasmussen met with Afghan president Hamid Karzai in Kabul on Thursday to address the country's eroding security situation.

"Outside forces will be required in Afghanistan over what I would call an open time period," Rasmussen told Denmark's Jyllands-Posten newspaper...

In a few weeks the Danish parliament is expected to approve a plan to send 200 more soldiers to Afghanistan, raising the total number to 640. the parliament is also expected to vote to permit the military to send as many as 40 commandos if necessary.
Upperdate: Meanwhile the Germans are discovering that playing the nice guy does not exempt one from the Taliban's tender touch:
A suicide attacker detonated himself next to German soldiers shopping in a crowded market in northern Afghanistan on Saturday, killing eight people and wounding 16, officials said.

Three Germans were killed and two wounded in the attack, said Gen. Noor Mohammad Omarkhail, the deputy provincial police chief. Five civilians were killed and 13 wounded, including seven seriously, said Azizullah Safer, the director of the provincial health department. One translator working for the Germans was also wounded...

The provincial police chief, Gen. Ayub Salangi, said two German vehicles on a security patrol drove into the market area, where soldiers got out on foot to do some shopping.

"They were on a patrol, but they had gotten out of their vehicles with their translator to buy something in the market when the attack happened," he said...

Germany's 3,000 troops here are responsible for northern Afghanistan, which sees relatively few attacks and is considered a much safer region than southern or eastern Afghanistan, where most of the country's fighting takes place...
More (what a comparison with the Danish parliament):
[German defence minister Franz Josef] Jung said he ``can't rule out'' the possibility that the attack will spark a political debate within Germany's ruling coalition of Christian Democrats and Social Democrats over whether Germany should continue foreign military commitments.

Germany's opposition Left Party, which has been eating into support for the Social Democrats, opposes the military operation in Afghanistan and last month asked the country's highest court to block the deployment of Tornado fighter jets there...[more here]


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