Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Afstan: More troops needed

Plus some blunt talk from the UK Defence Secretary:
The Nato-led coalition in Afghanistan lacks the troops and the strategy needed to defeat the Taleban and al-Qaeda, a leading foreign affairs think-tank said.

In its paper released yesterday, Chatham House said that the shortage of troops was becoming a “particularly sensitive” issue in southern Afghanistan, where the majority of British forces are concentrated.

“Manpower shortages mean units assigned to attack the Taleban are unable to control areas for any length of time,” it said.

France and Germany have been criticised for refusing to deploy troops in some of the more dangerous areas of Afghanistan.

Yesterday Des Browne, the Defence Secretary, accused some of Britain’s allies of failing to honour their commitments to Nato.

“We expect Nato allies, and EU partners, to meet their responsibility. Many are doing so, but some European nations are quite disappointing.”
Note also this:
...there are now more than 6,000 [British] troops in the country. That will rise to 7,700 in the course of this year. And experts warned it could go even higher next year, with plans for a new offensive that could involve up to 1,400 Scottish troops.

The Black Watch battalion is tipped to move back to its Inverness barracks as it is no longer required in Northern Ireland and military sources say the troops are available for Afghan operations. The Highlanders are also expected to be sent to Afghanistan, having undergone the appropriate training in Canada [emphasis added].
Update: Paddy Ashdown goes rather apocalyptic:
West won't win Afghan war says ex-UN envoy Ashdown
"I believe losing in Afghanistan is worse than losing in Iraq. It will mean that Pakistan will fall and it will have serious implications internally for the security of our own countries and will instigate a wider Shiite, Sunni regional war on a grand scale."

"Some people refer to the First and Second World Wars as European civil wars and I think a similar regional civil war could be initiated by this (failure) to match this magnitude," Ashdown added...
But of course in the longer run it's not international forces who will "win" or "lose" Afghanistan, it's the Afghan security forces. The US is now putting much greater effort into training police (I hope they do better than the Germans/EU); the RCMP are doing their bit.


Blogger Gilles said...

So you haven't heard? They found quicker solution to alleviate the manpower (firepower) shortage in Helmand Province: Private Security Contractors. Blackwater and friends are coming to the rescue!

12:28 a.m., October 18, 2007  

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