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Thursday, 7 February 2008

NATO troops in Afghanistan - the ins and outs

Lots on Afghanistan in the news today after David Miliband and Condoleezza Rice visited Afghanistan to try to patch up relations with Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Back in Europe, US Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, is in Vilnius trying to convince the other 26 defence ministers in the NATO alliance to step up their commitment.

Background:
  • Here's all you need to know about the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. How many troops there are, where they are, where they're not...
  • The Guardian (UK) looks at the problems facing the NATO mission, including NATO tensions, deployment issues, testy relations, Taliban and drugs.
Mainstream Coverage:
  • Robert Gates in Vilnius urges NATO members to at least some send equipment if they can't send troops into combat. (AFP)
  • Should we stay or should we go: the Canadians are due to vote on an indefinite commitment to Afghanistan. But only if NATO agrees to deploy an extra 1,000 troops. (National Post)
  • It's all quiet on the northern front, which is why Germany want to send an extra 200 troops there rather than anywhere else. (Deutsche Welle)
  • The Economist (UK) says its time for the sniping to stop. Internal sniping that is, not Taliban sniping...
From the Blogs:
  • Meanwhile, far away from the diplomatic circus 'Sensei Katana', a member of the RAF, has been settling into his new temporary home in Kandahar. He offers his own assessment of troop numbers at the base he is at and, in the final sentence of the extract here, inadvertently gets to the heart of the problem:
"Kandahar is definately an American base with nearly as many Canadian forces as well. Next in size would be the Dutch, with us Brits coming in at 4th place. There are also Romanians & Estonians too. There are a couple of other nations but they really don’t have enough of a presence to make any real impact."

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