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European powers refuse to send more troops to Afghanistan

reposted | 15.09.2006 18:27 | Anti-militarism

Bitterness and general rancour characterise the relations within NATO one week after its senior military commander called for 2,500 reinforcements to be urgently dispatched to assist the 8,000 British, Canadian and Dutch troops caught up in savage combat in Afghanistan’s southern provinces. In the face of dire warnings that the NATO-led occupation risks losing ground before a resurgence of support for the former Taliban regime, the major European members of the alliance have refused to send a single soldier.

As a top-level meeting on Wednesday at the NATO headquarters in the Belgian city of Mons, the US made clear that it expected countries such as Germany, France, Italy and Spain to provide the extra troops.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, on a visit to Canada, lectured NATO on Tuesday that an “Afghanistan that does not complete its democratic evolution and become a stable terror-fighting state is going to come back to haunt us. It will haunt our successors and their successors”. The US ambassador to NATO, Victoria Nuland, declared that “the issue here is the fighting capacity and the fighting willingness of all allies”.

As far as the Bush administration is concerned, subduing the Afghan people and propping up a pro-US regime in Kabul is now the problem of its European allies, and the price they must pay for good relations with Washington. The US military is stretched to the limit by the number of personnel it has been forced to keep in Iraq and the preparations it has been ordered to make for action against Iran.

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