Roland: no serious danger. Maybe not for most NATO allies, BECAUSE THEY'RE NOT THERE!
yes because the Americans (just to name one) had no input in what to do about the Balkans at all ... we were not the one that came up with that UNPROFOR light crap!
Roland: no serious danger. Maybe not for most NATO allies, BECAUSE THEY'RE NOT THERE!
U.S., British and Canadian forces are locked in a deadly struggle with
the Taliban in Afghanistan. But while the three countries are left to
the heavy soldiering, their NATO allies elsewhere in Afghanistan have
seen little, if any, action. PAUL KORING reports on the questions being
asked where the boots hit the dirt.
By PAUL KORING
KANDAHAR, AFGHANISTAN -- Troops from most major European nations are kept far from the fighting in Afghanistan, crippling NATO's effort to defeat the Taliban and secure the embattled south, according to NATO officers and independent analysts.
That leaves U.S., British and Canadian soldiers doing most of the fighting and dying in the battle with the fierce Taliban insurgency, a review of casualties shows.
Germany, France, Italy, and Spain -- all major military powers with significant troop contributions -- have stayed far from the Taliban fighters, deploying thousands of combat-capable troops, but keeping them hunkered down in the mostly peaceful northern and western parts of the country.
The starkest indicator of the imbalance is the body count, with three countries -- the United States, Canada and Britain -- accounting for 90 per cent of NATO's combat casualties.
Americans killed in action account for half of the total, followed by Canada with 25 per cent and Britain with 15 per cent.
But the unwillingness of many European nations to allow their troops to be sent into combat is only part of the problem.
Most of the 37 "troop-contributing" nations to the International Security and Assistance Force have sent too few soldiers to make any meaningful military impact.
Some are just token contributions. Austria has five soldiers, fewer than the number of Austrian flags at ISAF headquarters. Canada has more troops in Afghanistan than the combined total from 23 nations. Many of those contributions, ranging from a few dozen soldiers to a couple of hundred, are too small to be effective in combat even if they were deployed in the south.
The shortfall and the unwillingness of most NATO nations to allow their soldiers into combat, is expected to dominate next month's alliance summit in Riga.
NATO's Dutch Secretary-General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, has taken aim at the big countries whose troops are kept from combat by political restrictions.
"We need to better configure our forces in Afghanistan," he wrote in a German newspaper last week. "That also means removing the limitations individual nations have placed on their troops."
Pleas from top NATO commanders for more troops or the loosening of tight leashes that keeps most European soldiers from the fighting have fallen largely on deaf ears.
"Only a handful of NATO members are prepared to go to the south and east and to go robustly -- mainly the U.S., U.K., Canada, the Netherlands, Romania, Australia and Denmark," the International Crisis Group concludes in a blunt report published this month.
"Hard questions need to be asked of those such as Germany, Spain, France, Turkey and Italy who are not, and who sometimes appear to put force protection, not mission needs, at the fore."
A senior Canadian officer is more blunt. "How many battalions does it take to protect Kabul airport?" said Colonel Fred Lewis, the deputy contingent commander.
It's not just Kabul. In relatively peaceful northeastern Afghanistan, Germany has 2,700 troops, the third largest contingent in Afghanistan. Yet not a single German soldier has been in a firefight this year and there have been no German combat casualties.
Italy has 1,800 troops -- a contingent almost as big as Canada's -- in Herat in the northwest, a region more restive than the Germans.
In 2003, the Canadian government considered -- and eventually rejected -- deploying troops to Herat. Instead, the government opted for the far more dangerous Kandahar province, heartland of the Taliban.
Spain, another big, continental military power, has sent its soldiers to Badghis, adjacent to Herat, and also far from the insurgency.
French troops are mostly in Kabul, although it has about 200 special forces fighting in the south.
Not only are many European troops in relatively safe zones, their presence in Afghanistan is predicated on deals with NATO that they not be sent into combat.
"Indeed, troop presence in Afghanistan often appears to be about demonstrating an alliance with the U.S. rather than meeting the country's needs," the Crisis Group report says.
Of the roughly 31,000 NATO troops in Afghanistan, the United States provides more than 11,000. Another 10,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan remain under direct U.S. command.
Only the United States, Britain and the Netherlands have deployed a full array of combat capability, with warplanes and helicopter gunships to back up ground troops.
Although NATO won't reveal those secret national caveats, they effectively tie the hands of top commanders.
Some prevent troops from being sent south to where the fighting takes place. Others are so specific that they preclude certain national contingents from venturing beyond their heavily fortified bases after dark, according to NATO officers who spoke on condition that they not be named.
Canadian Brigadier-General David Fraser, who until earlier this month commanded all U.S., Canadian, British and Dutch troops in NATO's southern region, said he wanted more troops moved south. "The fewer national caveats, the more flexibility we would have to deal with the Taliban," he said.
ISAF's overall commander, British Lieutenant-General David Richards, has said he needs an additional rapid-reaction force of 2,000 soldiers in southern Afghanistan. No country stepped forward. Poland offered about 900 troops, but they won't arrive until spring.
Coalition of the unwilling?
There are 37 countries contributing troops to NATO's mission to stabilize Afghanistan, but most of the fighting falls to a handful of nations, while the others have too few troops to take part in battles or are keeping their soldiers out of the most dangerous areas.
New Zealand 100
SOURCE: ISAF, ICASUALTIES.ORG
Đ Copyright 2006 Bell Globemedia Publishing Inc. All Rights Reserved.
globeandmail.com and The Globe and Mail are divisions of Bell Globemedia Publishing Inc., 444 Front St. W., Toronto, Canada M5V 2S9 Phillip Crawley, Publisher
Source: The Globe and Mail, print edition, Friday 17 November 2006.
1100-1200, and they should be in Afghanistan in next 2 months.Originally Posted by ex1cdo
more like 150-190(OEF and ISAF)Poland 10
The policy of our (German) government regarding the use of our troops in Afghanistan is an absolute shame in my opinion. The only thing that might help is relentless and continous pressure...especially by the US. Hopefully that will cause a change.
Itīs a policy of small steps and it is a shame...
The politians donīt want to take responsibility for dead soldiers...
Beeing responsible for dead soldiers brings a bad press in germany and thatīs bad for the next elections and that might be bad for the chair they sit on. I do believe that they think that the public isnīt prepared for a higher amount of dead soldiers caused through real combat. So they continue to deploy forces around the world in less dangerous areas just to do whatīs demanded from other nato members. But the times have changed faster than their mind, the coalition partners demand more, and if germany still wants to be seen as major partner for the future, they have to change their attitude towards combat deployments and leave the path of "desensitization" of the german public.
Pressure through the goverments of the U.S.A, Canada and Britain is the only thing that might help, like Kitsune said before.
P.S.: German politicians tend to believe that Germany has to be a pacifistic state. Germany still carries the burden of WWII. I do believe that short after WW II in the early 50s or 60s a politician said that: "german soldiers shall never ever again fight on foreign soil!". In this spirit a lot of politicians are still thinking and acting.
They told that crap until the early nineties.I do believe that short after WW II in the early 50s or 60s a politician said that: "german soldiers shall never ever again fight on foreign soil!".
Of course, germans at the front would be fine. But it is not possible at the moment. The deployment in Afghanistan is not accepted by most of the germans. People are asking "why are we there?" and no one gives a good answer.
So just imagine rising casualties within german troops because of fighting. The troops will be back in germany faster than MP.net could publish the news of germans fighting. Creating a gap of 2700 troops.
The only way for Germany to help, at this moment, is to back up the fighting troops by patroling in Kunduz and securing Kabul.
It may change in the future. I hope so...
I think the Danes and Dutch are pulling their weight. I am still disgusted with the Germans, spanish and italian troops roles. Its not the soldiers fault i might well add.
As for the French... well they are leading the UNIFIL mission so they are busy intercepting smugglers (well 9 - 5, they dont patrol at night, someone might twist an ankle!).
One could also say that the north was quiet because the guys there do a good job...
Seriously, the south is of course more dangerous, also because of the difficult borders there.
I can't see the benefit of going around and blaming everyone else after taking casualties. I mean: Who divided the responsibilities? Someone had to be saying: "Hey guys, I take the south!" And now those same guys are complainig about it?!
Besides I believe it's ungrateful towards Germany to blame them for their contribution. They started there with the job to secure Kabul exclusivly. Now german troops are already in the north, securing the sector there an thus setting troops free to operate elsewhere (Southern Afghanistan, Iraq oder whereever...). And nobodystalking about the contribution in the Kosovo and in Bosnia, also enabling the allies to use their troops elsewhere.
We should all remember that the german military was for decades kept low because of fear an guilt of the WW2. The process of shaping an army, only allowed to fight if a tank is running through cologne to an intervention force takes time and patience.
Just remember how the United States started into WW2 with troops on Iceland. The british could also have said: Our guys are defending freedom, they are protecting Iceland...
Scrap NATO and create an Anglo-alliance of UK, US, Canada, and Australia.
So many troops and still no action!! Where is the bundeswehr deployed.