Saturday, June 30, 2007

"Australia committed long term to Afghanistan"

That's the Aussie position, not Canada's, sad to say.
Australia is committed to remaining part of an international military force in Afghanistan for as long as necessary, Alexander Downer, Australia's foreign minister, said during an unannounced visit on Saturday.

Australia currently has nearly 1,000 troops serving with the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) for Afghanistan after doubling the contingent last month.

"The relationship with Afghanistan... for us is a strong one," Downer told a news conference in Kabul.

"We very strongly support not just the military efforts made against the Taliban but (also) the efforts being made for reconstruction and development cooperation."

A sizeable portion of the Australian contingent is made up of special forces and most operate in southern Uruzgan province, where a resurgent Taliban and soaring opium production have made security very fragile...

"There was quite a lot of discussion about civilian casualties," Downer said, adding: "I was very happy with my conversation with President Karzai about this.

"It is very, very foolish for any person of goodwill to try to create some sort of moral equivalence [emphasis added] between NATO and what the Taliban does...
Update: A column by Father Raymond J. De Souza compares Australians' familiarity with, and pride in, their military history to Canadians' generally dismal ignorance of our own military history.


Blogger Bob R. said...

Great news.

The SASR is highly regarded but I've heard that the regular units are put on a tight leash in Afghanistan (and Iraq). And some reports seem to confirm this as well. Recently there was a major assault from the Dutch on the taliban in Chowreh (Uruzgan) and the only Australian units that took part in the combat were the SF. I don't know if it was just a coincidence or not but it must be frustrating for them.

5:07 p.m., June 30, 2007  
Blogger fm said...

The reconstruction team in TK is guarded by an infantry company and some wheeled armoured elements. They were down town when these latest actions kicked off and they could hardly run off and leave the engineers unguarded. In fact if you read the article by David Axe, it seems some of them walked back to the base over a period of a day because their transport was tasked elsewhere.

No the bulk of the Australian forces are engineers so the heavy fighting will have to be borne by the SF contingent (SASR and Commandos combined), as planned.

10:59 p.m., June 30, 2007  
Blogger Bob R. said...

Thanks for the info. I read an online article of an Australian newspaper recently called 'Aussie diggers battle-shy' - US in which an Australian soldier complained about not being allowed to do much.

5:59 a.m., July 01, 2007  
Blogger fm said...

They're keen, God bless 'em. But everyone's got their part to play.

10:08 p.m., July 01, 2007  
Blogger RGM said...

Canada is quite unique among the Anglolateral alliance in its soft position regarding the War on Terror. The Aussies and the Brits have been staunchly beside Washington throughout Afghanistan and Iraq, and their assistance has no doubt been of great benefit in those two conflicts. Canada, meanwhile, passed on Iraq in embarrassing fashion, passed on NMD in embarrassing fashion, and is getting really wobbly on Afghanistan. One can agree or disagree over whether Canada should have signed up for Iraq and/or NMD, but what is really without question is that the political handling of these two major files was disastrous to watch.

5:23 p.m., July 03, 2007  
Blogger arctic_front said...

further to what RGM

downright embarassing indeed. How we have fallen in our national reslove to pitch in and help.

I guess Cypres or other U.N. 'peacekeeping' type missions are all we are worthy of? For shame be upon us for allowing our collective will to be so easily diluted. "Sure, Canada will come help out, wherever we are needed in the world, to fight oppression, tyrany, genocide........just so long as we don't get our hands dirty"

Pretty much sums up the mood of the electorate, doesn't it?

11:46 p.m., July 04, 2007  

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