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View Poll Results: Should NATO deploy additional military forces to Afghanistan?
Yes 6 85.71%
No 1 14.29%
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Old 05-08-2007   #41
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Default NATO Paces Afghan Offensive

8 May Washington Times - NATO Paces Afghan Offensive by Philip Smucker.

NATO officers and diplomats say they are selectively securing some areas of southern Afghanistan ahead of others, hoping the contrast between Taliban and government rule will gradually undermine support for the Islamist insurgents.

Officers responsible for "Operation Achilles," the spring offensive being undertaken by U.S., British and Canadian forces, say they are in no hurry to drive the Taliban from some of the strongholds they captured in northern Helmand province last year.

"We will move into these Taliban areas at a time of our choosing," British Lt. Col. Charlie Mayo said, when asked why NATO forces had not yet challenged the hard-line Islamist organization's grip on Musa Qala, a major town in this key battleground province.

NATO is trying to set examples of development and stability in enclaves already under Afghan government control, Col. Mayo said...
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Old 05-08-2007   #42
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It comes across more as NATO weakness than strategic brilliance.
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Old 05-08-2007   #43
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- they may be waiting for the Dutch to decide if they want to engage armed Talis or not, the Dutch need multiple E&E routes ya' know and it takes time to map them out
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Old 05-08-2007   #44
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From what I've seen of combat camera footage of the Dutch in action, those guys are the last thing that could be holding NATO up.

Last edited by jcustis; 05-08-2007 at 03:09 PM. Reason: grammar
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Old 05-08-2007   #45
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I'm not sanguine about this approach. It is basically a reprise of the approach taken around Brcko, BH. Federation-controlled areas were pumped full of redevelopment projects while Serb areas, since we were having problems with the little darlin's, were left to languish. Intended message -- behave and good things happen. Message received -- Croats and Bozniacs are willing to sell their souls for money, but we Serbs are too proud and strong for that! Tribalism wins out.

Pls note -- this is history. I have not been to Brcko in nearly a decade; I am not trying to describe current ground truth.
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Old 05-08-2007   #46
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Default Dutch track record...

European troops in general tend to be excellent. Well trained well supplied and motivated. Unfortunatley they seem to be hampered by vacillating Governments and Commanders who, again seem, to give in when presented a dilemma that puts their men and their national policy at any risk.

Example: Srebrenica: The United Nations had previously declared Srebrenica a UN protected "safe area", but they did not prevent the massacre, even though 400 armed Dutch peacekeepers were present at the time.[12]

Of course Srebrenica was a peace keeping operation so ROE was a factor BUT...
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Old 05-08-2007   #47
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Apropos - even supposed America-lover / Muslim-basher Sarkozy is eager to withdraw from Afghanistan. I remember that Jacques Chirac was also a great lover of America when he won office.
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Old 05-20-2007   #48
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Default Where are our [NATO] allies in Afghanistan?

20 May Washington Post - Bush, NATO Chief Seek Ways To Bolster Afghanistan Mission by Michael Fletcher.

NATO's top official is scheduled to arrive here Sunday for talks with President Bush amid growing anger in Afghanistan about civilian casualties from the alliance's war there and continued reluctance among many NATO members to increase their commitment to the six-year-old conflict.

Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer and Bush are to meet Sunday and Monday at the president's ranch in hopes of solidifying NATO's efforts in Afghanistan. Some experts worry that the international effort is fraying as the violence in Afghanistan has intensified in the past year, exposing fissures between alliance members.

The 26 NATO member nations have assumed vastly different levels of risk in the Afghanistan mission. Countries including Germany, Italy and Spain have largely had their troops deployed in nonviolent areas of Afghanistan, leaving the volatile south to allies including Americans, Canadians, British and the Dutch...
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Old 05-30-2007   #49
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Default NATO General Tells of Taliban Setbacks

30 May Washington Post - NATO General Tells of Taliban Setbacks by Jason Ukman.

A top NATO alliance general said yesterday that Afghanistan's Taliban militia has lost its ability to control large swaths of territory, even if the hard-line Islamic movement remains strong in "small pockets" of the country.

Dutch Maj. Gen. Ton van Loon, who this month ended his tour as commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan's volatile south, said Taliban fighters had been driven out of the regions where they had sought to gain a foothold, including Kandahar city and parts of Helmand province...
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Old 10-25-2007   #50
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Default Where are our [NATO] allies in Afghanistan?

Daily Telegraph (UK) writes "As Robert Gates, the American Defence Secretary, remarked recently, the [NATO] alliance has more than two million soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen at its disposal, but only a fraction of that number is available to participate in the most important mission in Nato's history because of the national caveats that the governments of many member states have imposed on their forces deploying to areas where they might be in danger of suffering casualties."
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Old 10-25-2007   #51
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Default 700 bodies why

The BBC Radio 4 is quoting seven hundred dead since ISAF arrived, I accept the vast bulk are from "the willing". That alone will put politicians off deploying. In an article alongside the one cited is a comment by Lord Ashdown, ex-Bosnia governor, that Afghanistan is lost.

The steady UK losses are regularly reported and arouse to date little public discussion. If this continues without the Afghans playing a bigger role I cannot see the UK public accepting the burden in say five years time. What does resonate here is the contradiction in providing security and the booming poppy harvest - the large bulk of the heroin reportedly comes here to Western Europe. I know this has led to debate before on SWJ.

If the Canadians and the Dutch leave or stop committing combat troops it is easy to hear the argument here in the UK, why should we remain?

Robert Hunter, on BBC Radio just quipped the heroin buyers are putting more money into Afghanistan than NATO in eceonomic aid (missed the announcement of who was speaking, but recognised the voice).

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Old 10-25-2007   #52
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Default "Appeal for countries to provide more troops is rejected"

Times (London) headline above, article here:

The Brits, Canadians, US and Dutch have been pulling their weight, but not the other NATO countries. And what UK/US is asking of these other members are not combat forces, but logistical and reconstruction support. The combat forces have been holding their own (or better), but these reconstruction efforts are a necessary part of counter-insurgency.

This brings to fore the issue of US in NATO, does it not? Why is there such a huge one-sided commitment by Americans to an entity that invoked Art. 5 but has not followed through? Separate discussion thread would be necessary for that though!

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Old 10-26-2007   #53
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I suspect that part of the problem has to do with how NATO is reconstructing itself. I remember chatting with a senior German policy advisor about Germany's role in Afghanistan, and he pointed out the somewhat ironic position where for years Germany was told they were "bad" for being militaristic and were now being told they were "bad" for not being militaristic enough .

Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
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Old 10-26-2007   #54
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Default A prediction

After the USA spent a large part of its wealth in the defence of Europe through the cold war while Europe invested in social programs there should be some equity. Unless the alliance coughs up some more troops I don't see what the point of NATO is and why it should exist. I'm betting the alliance will dissolve without a stronger commitment.
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Old 10-26-2007   #55
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I bet if the US moved 30,000 troops out of Iraq and into Afghanistan NATO would be much more willing to send more troops.
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Old 11-05-2007   #56
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Originally Posted by Armchairguy View Post
... I don't see what the point of NATO is and why it should exist....
NATO will definitely not be a self-financing Foreign Legion for the US Government....
Talking about Coalition Warfare in Afghanistan I see the fundamental problem in the lack of an overall, coherent NATO strategy for COIN in Afghanistan. And if there is no overall approved strategy what should the nations do other what they individually think is best in their respective AORs? Some nations focus on defeating the enemy while others focus on non-kinetic nationbuilding. Both has its own right in COIN doctrine. But it definitely doesn't make sense if you do the one thing exclusively in the North and the other one in the South; that is not going to work...
And putting the blame on the other side will not be a solution; and it will only serve the Taliban...
First of all, NATO needs to agree on a COIN doctrine. Then develop a strategy for Afghanistan. Then look what has to be done, what forces there are and then attribute troops to tasks.
...and BTW, stop the counternarcotics program in AFG. That's right now a main recruiting factor for the insurgency.


P.S. Coalition Warfare. Here is an interesting video about a French ETT (SOF?) with ANA:
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Old 11-06-2007   #57
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These guys aren't SOF they belong to the 27th Mountain Infantry Brigade LRRP unit which is called the GCM in French.
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Old 01-15-2008   #58
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Default Allies Feel Strain of Afghan War

Allies Feel Strain of Afghan War, Wash Post 15 Jan

After more than six years of coalition warfare in Afghanistan, NATO is a bundle of frayed nerves and tension over nearly every aspect of the conflict, including troop levels and missions, reconstruction, anti-narcotics efforts, and even counterinsurgency strategy. Stress has grown along with casualties, domestic pressures and a sense that the war is not improving, according to a wide range of senior U.S. and NATO-member officials who agreed to discuss sensitive alliance issues on the condition of anonymity.
While Washington has long called for allies to send more forces, NATO countries involved in some of the fiercest fighting have complained that they are suffering the heaviest losses. The United States supplies about half of the 54,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan, they say, but the British, Canadians and Dutch are engaged in regular combat in the volatile south.
"We have one-tenth of the troops and we do more fighting than you do," a Canadian official said of his country's 2,500 troops in Kandahar province. "So do the Dutch." The Canadian death rate, proportional to the overall size of its force, is higher than that of U.S. troops in Afghanistan or Iraq, a Canadian government analysis concluded last year.
British officials note that the eastern region, where most U.S. forces are based, is far quieter than the Taliban-saturated center of British operations in Helmand, the country's top opium-producing province. The American rejoinder, spoken only in private with references to British operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan, is that superior U.S. skills have made it so.
NATO has long been divided between those with fighting forces in Afghanistan and those who have restricted their involvement to noncombat activities. Now, as the United States begins a slow drawdown from Iraq, the attention of even combat partners has turned toward whether more U.S. troops will be free to fight in the "forgotten" war in Afghanistan.

Both President Bush and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates have toned down their public pressure on allies. When German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Bush at his Texas ranch in November, U.S. and German officials said, she told him that while Bonn would step up its contribution in quiet northern Afghanistan, any change in Germany's noncombat role would spell political disaster for her conservative government.
"It's not an excuse; it's simply reality -- coalition reality and domestic reality," a German official said. Merkel came away with Bush's pledge to praise Germany's efforts and stop criticizing.
More at:
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Old 01-16-2008   #59
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Default FM: Estonia will support Afghanistan for as long as needed

Foreign Minister Paet Visits Afghanistan

Last year the government passed an Afghanistan conception which contains no set date for when Estonia’s military or civilian mission in Afghanistan should end,” said Foreign Minister Paet. “We are prepared to participate in the stabilisation and building up of Afghanistan until the goals set by the government of Afghanistan and the international community have been met,” he emphasized.

Last year Estonia supported the paediatric ward of the Bost Hospital in Helmand province with 1.1 million kroons. The Foreign Ministry also allocated 469,400 kroons (30,000 EUR) from its civilian mission budget to support the European Union Police mission EUPOL.

This year, Estonia has already provided support for the creation of a new building for the Afghanistan Centre at Kabul University and for a population census in Afghanistan.
Estonia to send health care specialist to Helmand

President Karzai highly values Estonia’s participation in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). “We are very grateful that this tiny nation so far away from Afghanistan is helping us in as complicated a region as Helmand province,” said President Karzai.

Foreign Minister Paet confirmed that Estonia plans to significantly increase its civil contribution. “We’re sending a medical expert to Helmand, who will be responsible for developing the medical system for the whole province and coordinating international aid,” Paet said.

Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said that Estonia is sending one police officer to join the ranks of the European Union Police Mission. Last year Estonia gave 469,000 kroons (30,000 EUR) to support the EU Police Mission EUPOL Afghanistan, which aims to help the development of the Afghanistani police force.
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Old 01-17-2008   #60
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Default Gates' comments on allies

Gates faults NATO force in southern Afghanistan

The U.S. Defense secretary says he thinks alliance troops do not know how to fight a guerrilla insurgency.

Los Angeles Times, January 16, 2008

WASHINGTON -- In an unusual public criticism, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said he believes NATO forces currently deployed in southern Afghanistan do not know how to combat a guerrilla insurgency, a deficiency that could be contributing to the rising violence in the fight against the Taliban.

"I'm worried we're deploying [military advisors] that are not properly trained and I'm worried we have some military forces that don't know how to do counterinsurgency operations," Gates said in an interview.

MacKay downplays U.S. criticism of Afghan allies

Globe and Mail, January 16, 2008

OTTAWA — Defence Minister Peter MacKay dealt with a case of diplomatic friendly fire Wednesday and was forced to defend the inadvertent criticism of his U.S. counterpart about the quality of NATO forces fighting in southern Afghanistan.

The reported comments by U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates rankled allies around the world and touched a raw nerve in Canada at a time when the Conservative government is trying to convince a reluctant public that the Kandahar mission should continue in some form.

Outrage as US accuses Britain of inexperience in Taleban conflict
The Times, 17 January 2007

Robert Gates, the US Defence Secretary, risked an unprecedented rift with Britain and other close allies after accusing Nato countries fighting in southern Afghanistan of lacking experience in counter-insurgency warfare.

Mr Gates said failings in the south were contributing to the rising violence in the fight against the Taleban.

His outspoken criticism, voiced in an interview with an American newspaper, provoked instant reactions from Britain, Canada and the Netherlands, the three most prominent members of the alliance, who have endured much of the fiercest fighting in southern Afghanistan.
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