US And NATO Allies Clash In Afghanistan

During the past month, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has been arguing with NATO allies over the issue of the number of soldiers being sent to Afghanistan. The Amercan commander of forces in Afghanistan, General McNeill openly clashed with his allies not only over ther failure to send sufficient troops, but on the short term stay of those personnel. He complained about “minimalist forces” who are too few in number, and, for the most part only remain for a six month tour of duty. He compared the NATO effort to that of Americans who have at least a 15 month tour of duty. This allows, according to General McNeill, an opportunity to develop “relationships with the terrain, with the indigenous pepple and their leadership, and with the enemy.” The Americ an general was critical over the lack of training being given NATO forces for operations in Afghanistan.

It is now almost seven years since the Taliban was defeated and supposedly driven from Afghanistan. One would assume that over a seven year period the United States and its NATO allies would have been able to train an Afghan fighting force that could handle any insurgency. The goal should not be for American or NATO forces to learn about the terrain or form relationships with the local population, but this should be the task of Afghan soldiers. General McNeill complains over Canadian soldiers spending time in training activities rather than fighting. Perhaps, if more time was spent in training an Afghan army there would not be need for American and NATO forces in the country.

Admiral Mullen is now calling for reducing deployment time from 15 months to 12.

  • Robert M. Stockmann

    NATO in severe trouble

    NATO seems to be in severe trouble, internally. A weird background
    image was sent on 07-FEB-2008 on NOVA TV (NED2) where Dutch Defence
    Minister Middelkoop was reporting from Vilnius, Lithuania, near the
    Soviet border, some 60 miles from Minsk. The background board showed
    the following text :

    07-08 II 2008
    NATO Defence Ministers
    —+— Ministres de la Defence

    Very strange. If NATO is spelled backwards on the same board, it
    means the highest NATO chiefs are internally in conflict.
    Does this read like : “The Devil is in Disarray” ? The highest
    NATO chiefs are in need of mental health care? Also, why is the
    date of the event spelled as :

    07-08 II 2008

    instead of 07-02-2008 or 07-FEB-2008, or Feb 7, 2008 ? Something is
    very very foul here. Could Afghanistan slowly have become the Waterloo
    for NATO? Check in a couple of hours or maybe tomorrow,
    and you can replay the Interview with Dutch Defence Minister Middelkoop
    to see that weird background image yourself.

    “Netherlands guilty of war violations in Afghanistan”

    The Netherlands are guilty of serious war violations in
    Afghanistan. This claim was made by two lawyers who yesterday filed
    a complaint against the Dutch government and the Chiefs of Staff
    of the Dutch Armed Forces, as was reported by Dutch Newspaper Trouw.
    The Dutch troops failed to adequately take into account the
    presence of civilians.

    Heavy infantry
    According to lawyers Nico Steijnen and Meindert Stelling, who are
    activists for the association of Lawyers for Peace, charges include a
    battle in the district of Chora where between fifty and seventy
    civilian casualties were made. Most of them, according independent
    investigation, were slain by Dutch gun fire. The NATO commander in
    the province of Uruzgan typified the use of heavy infantry by the
    Dutch, as a violation of war. His superiors were, according ‘Trouw’,
    of a different opinion.

    Civilian Casualties
    The Public Ministry has been conducting research into the June battle
    in Chora, but, according the peace advocates, already in 2003 civilian
    casualties were made by the Dutch in Afghanistan. The lawyers report in
    the newspaper that NATO has given itself a carte blanche to execute the
    leaders of the Taliban ‘outside the law’.

    NATO Secretary-General
    The declaration covers amongst others the Dutch Commander of the Armed
    Forces Dick Berlijn, the Secretary-General of NATO Jaap de Hoop
    Scheffer and the highest officials of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs
    and Defense. By Wednesday, according ‘Trouw’, it will be known whether
    the Public Prosecution Service will consider the pending complaints.
    The lawyers, who previously tried to get the Netherlands prosecuted for
    air strikes in former Yugoslavia, have already stated to proceed to the
    court of Justice if the PPS dismisses the complaint. (Novum / kA)”

    Interesting enough the NOVA broadcast of February 7, 2008, mentions
    nothing about the above filed lawsuit. Instead the Chiefs of NATO
    conducted a special meeting near the Soviet border and flash
    a symbolic message across the Dutch TV air-waves ;)