Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Australia gets it

Re-Americanization in AFG is becoming inevitable.
An additional 10,000 troops are needed to quell a Taliban and al-Qaida insurgency in southern Afghanistan, but European NATO partners appear unwilling to deploy more soldiers, Australia's defense minister said Thursday.

``At least 10,000 would give us the critical mass necessary to do what we need to do on the military front,'' Joel Fitzgibbon told The Associated Press at his office in the Australian capital Canberra.

About 65,000 international troops are stationed in Afghanistan, including 51,000 from the 40-nation NATO-led International Security Assistance Force. The United States has about 33,000 troops in the country.

``Having spoken to a number of European countries over the course of the last four months, I don't see a lot of hope that anyone else is about to put their hand up anytime soon. That's a worry because if (the extra troops) don't come, progress will continue to be all too slow,'' he said.
Sad, the Alliance was given a chance, but was measured and found wanting in the end.
He declined to name the European countries he was referring to.

Fitzgibbon said Australia was already carrying its fair share of the burden with 1,000 troops in Afghanistan, the 10th-largest national contribution and the largest outside NATO.
If need be though, there will be one flag left flying in the end.
He said Defense Secretary Robert Gates, whom he met at an international security conference in Singapore last weekend, agreed on the need to substantially increase troop numbers in Afghanistan.

``He's certainly given me the impression that the United States remains absolutely committed to the project and he's certainly given me the impression that there's likely to be continuity on that issue across the administration regardless of who wins in November,'' Fitzgibbon said, referring to the upcoming presidential elections.

The head of Australia's defense force told a Senate inquiry Wednesday the military campaign in Afghanistan ``will last at least 10 years.''

Fitzgibbon said Thursday that military operations could take less time with adequate resources, although reconstruction of the country will take longer.
They know it, and we know it - and NATO has stepped on its own ... baguette.
Ask American troops in Afghanistan what ISAF means, and you are opening the door to a running joke: "I Saw Americans Fight," and "I Suck at Fighting," and "I Sunbathe at FOBs" (a reference to the heavily fortified and largely safe forward operating bases) are among the more popular punch lines. In fact, ISAF is the acronym for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, which is made up of soldiers from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, the Netherlands, Germany, and 35 other nations.

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