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December 14, 2005
Europe Botching Afghanistan Duties

When we first went into Afghanistan to take out the Taliban, the action had the backing of Europe, which promised its support for the effort and its aftermath. The operation got handed to NATO in a move lauded by the American media as a model of how we should have handled Iraq. Now it appears that NATO has botched the mission, with the various European countries that pledged their support to help build the newly democratic nation reneging on their promises, according to The Scotsman:

BRITAIN is set for a U-turn on its commitment to send thousands of troops to fight in Afghanistan next year, with some in the army now questioning whether the mission should be abandoned altogether.

Military commanders say that lessons have not been learned from the run-up to the Iraq war and that political prevarication has left them unable to make adequate preparation for the mission, which had been expected to involve up to 5,000 troops.

Instead, an additional fighting force of only about 1,000 soldiers - almost certainly paratroops - is expected to be sent to Helmand province, in the south of the country, probably backed up by Apache helicopter gunships.

The US brought NATO in when the UN would not cough up troops, and it did so under pressure from Congress and the media to be less "unilateral" in the war on terror. Without US leadership, however, the entire effort has become "shambolic", as one British officer called it, and those nations that demanded a voice in how the war got waged have walked away from their responsibilities. The Dutch refuse to send their contingent of 1,000 men at all unless the United States provides them with "security", for instance. Does the Netherlands have such a weak fighting force that they cannot deploy without having someone else do the firing for them when challenged? Apparently they do -- but that doesn't keep them from telling us how to wage war, it seems.

How about the Germans? The Germans pledged to train the Afghanistan security forces, a task that started after the fall of th Taliban, well before we started handing over sovereignty to the Iraqis in June 2004. Since that time, the Americans have trained over 200,000 Iraqi security troops, with over 45,000 able to operate independently with American logistical support. They have taken charge of a number of military bases in their own country and hold their own territory against steadily-weakening insurgents. In comparison, the Germans have trained all of 200 police officers since December 2001 -- all of which disappeared in Kabul shortly after their release into the field.

So much for the notion of military leadership by international committee. If America, the Brits, and the Australians assume leadership of the War on Terror, it's because we know how to fight and win it. The uselessness of the biggest complainers in Europe has never been made more clear. It also shows that we took the right path in Iraq and have worked wonders in a very short period of time to get the country and its security back on its own feet -- and that leaving it to others to finish the job will result in disaster.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at December 14, 2005 6:59 AM

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» Kerry And The Left Wanted Europe To Help? from Thinking Right
Do you all remember the 2004 campaign? John Kerry wanted demanded that we have the Europeans and NATO involved in Iraq just like they are in Afghanistan. Well, I for one am glad their not. Many of the NATO countries have reneged on their promises to h... [Read More]

Tracked on December 14, 2005 7:25 PM


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