Friday, November 13, 2009

How much "surging" for Afstan?/Upperdate: A Krieg after all

I doubt very much from Euros, esp. for any combat (including mentoring in the field). News:

1) AP:
As Obama ponders Afghanistan, so does Europe

President Barack Obama's delay in deciding U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan has found an echo chamber in Europe, where coalition leaders in NATO are weighing whether to send more help or bow to public demands for a speedy exit.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told The Associated Press on Thursday that allied nations have privately pledged more help, but he stopped short of saying that countries would send more troops.

Canada, Finland and the Netherlands have either pulled troops out or set withdrawal dates. Other countries, such as Denmark, Italy, Germany, Norway and Sweden, say they will maintain current troop levels but have no immediate plans to increase them. Only Britain and Turkey have made significant pledges, and Turkey — a Muslim country — has committed noncombat personnel only.

"We have already received quite a number of pledges," Rasmussen told the AP after talks with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. "Based on this principle of solidarity, I think all allies will follow suit — one way or the other."

It was unclear how many pledges had been made or whether assistance would be in the form of troops, trainers or other resources...
2) Daily Telegraph:
Gordon Brown pushes for more nations to share Afghan burden
Gordon Brown is attempting to persuade allied nations to provide 5,000 more troops for the fight against the Taliban.

The move is part of a push to spread the burden in Afghanistan, where troops from America and Britain make up the bulk of the international force.

The Prime Minister has ordered Bob Ainsworth, the Defence Secretary, and Simon McDonald, the senior foreign policy adviser, to embark on a round of diplomatic lobbying to try to get agreement from at least 10 different nations to supply the extra forces. Mr Brown believes some members of the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) are still not making enough of a contribution to the fighting in Afghanistan.

British diplomats also hope it will help President Barack Obama sell to the US public any decision to send more American forces to the country [emphasis added]. On Thursday Mr Obama demanded the inclusion of an exit plan in America’s new strategy for Afghanistan – to make clear that the military mission was not “open-ended”...
And a view in The Guardian:
Barack Obama 'risks Suez-like disaster' in Afghanistan, says key adviser
Leading authority on counter-insurgency fears US is heading for 'irresponsible' fudge on extra troops

A key adviser to Nato forces warned today that Barack Obama risks a Suez-style debacle in Afghanistan if he fails to deploy enough extra troops and opts instead for a messy compromise.

David Kilcullen, one of the world's leading authorities on counter-insurgency and an adviser to the British government as well as the US state department, said Obama's delay in reaching a decision over extra troops had been "messy". He said it not only worried US allies but created uncertainty the Taliban could exploit.

Speaking in an interview with the Guardian, he compared the president to someone "pontificating" over whether to send enough firefighters into a burning building to put a fire out.

He was speaking as Obama left Washington for a nine-day trip to Asia without announcing a decision on troop numbers. The options being considered by the US have been narrowed down to four: sending 10,000, 20,000, 30,000 or 40,000, the latter the figure requested by the Nato commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal. These would be on top of 68,000 US troops already deployed.

The deep divisions with the Obama administration were exposed yesterday by leaked diplomatic cables from the US ambassador in Afghanistan, Karl Eikenberry, who urged Obama to ignore McChrystal's request unless the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, cleaned up his corrupt government.

Kilcullen expressed concern that Obama might deny McChrystal the 40,000 extra troops and split the difference between the four options, the kind of fudge common in domestic politics [more on Australian Lt.-Col. (ret'd) Kilcullen here, here and here]...
Obamastan: Serve returned...
...tiebreaker drags on...
And the really big picture:
How deal with Afstan, AfPak, Indo/Pak, and al Qaeda/Update on strong horses
Update: Like, wow:
Germany sending 120 more troops to Afghanistan
Upperdate: Bundeswow?
Afghan Insurgency Tests German Troops
Rules of Engagement Limit Soldiers, Raising Tensions With Allies and Questions About Readiness...

German troops are also limited by their rules of engagement. Last week, German troops remained at a distance as U.S. and Afghan special forces descended on Kunduz, a region ostensibly under German jurisdiction, to fight a major battle to clear out a Taliban stronghold near the German base. Some 130 insurgents, including eight Taliban commanders, were killed in the operation near the Germany's hilltop base, according to NATO officials.
The Germans aren't allowed to participate in such an aggressive operation, NATO officials said...

This month, Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg broke the biggest taboo of all, invoking what Germans call the "K" word. The Afghanistan conflict, he said, is a "Krieg," a war.


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