The limitations some European countries put on their troops threaten to divide NATO and undermine counterinsurgency operations in Afghanistan, the Secretary- General warned yesterday.Yes, my friends. Watching your countrymen die (like Canada is relearning) while your friends hide under your skirts - is not a fun thing. Poland though, in the Polish nature, is refreshingly direct about such things.
NATO is about solidarity and sharing burdens and risks, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said, urging NATO parliamentarians to lift restrictions on their soldiers so they can assist Canadian, British and U.S. soldiers who are fighting the toughest battles in southern Afghanistan against the Taliban.
I won't start the blame game, Mr. de Hoop Scheffer said. You will not hear me mentioning names and blaming allies in public.
But clearly some of the 26-member countries need to do more, he said via video link from Brussels to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, meeting in Quebec City.
In Afghanistan, we've been tested like never before, even by suffering casualties. Our resources are stretched thin.
The corridor talk here was pointed. Parliamentarians from France, Italy and Germany were repeatedly asked why they would not lift so-called caveats that limit where and when their troops can operate.
Some soldiers are told by their governments they cannot fight at night.
Others are not permitted to fight at all, but simply to stand guard in safe areas.
A Spanish delegate complained that some of the caveats are unnecessarily secret, adding to the confusion about which military units can be brought into battle.From what my spies tell me kiddies, that is the bucket of FOD that is ISAF.
Poland, one of NATO's newer members, is increasing its troop commitment from just 10 now to a thousand early in the new year.If we only had Germans with as much fight in them as Poles. Ahem.
And there will be no restrictions. No caveats. Our commandos will fight the terrorists, Polish delegate Ryszard Gorecki said. We have to be a reliable ally.