Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Canada in Afghanistan - holding the line

If you haven't shaken the hand of a Canadian in the last year and told them how proud you are of their Nation and their military, then shame on you.

Canada is a great friend and though they are not quite at the same level as we are (mostly due to a culture of UN type operations, 20 years of bare-boned defense budgets, and a Left elite that hates anything that smacks of their brothers south of the Great Lakes), but they have turned-to and are fighting for the West better than any of our Allies outside the mother we share, Britain.

Though the minority Tory government of PM Harper just received the support from the Center-Left Liberals, Canada is close to leaving Afghanistan because the help they thought their Continental Allies would provide in the South has not been coming. Due in a large part to the new, mature view in Sarkozy's France, there may be a new way to help. Being that the rest of NATO refuses to Cowboy-up, two articles
here and here outline a little Franco-American shuffle that will fill the gap in addition to the 3,200+ USMC coming to the South and West this spring.
France may send hundreds of ground troops to eastern Afghanistan, where NATO-led forces are fighting insurgents backed by Al Qaeda, Le Monde reported Tuesday.

It said the move would be part of a new Afghan policy being worked out by President Nicolas Sarkozy and his advisers.

A French presidential spokesman declined to confirm or deny the newspaper report. “The president has not made a decision,” he said. “We are in discussion with our partners, inside NATO but not exclusively.”

France has about 1,900 soldiers under NATO’s Afghan command, most of them based in relatively calm Kabul, and Le Monde said the fresh troops would be deployed outside the capital.

“Their destination would be zones of potentially fierce fighting, preferably the eastern region of Afghanistan close to the tribal areas of Pakistan,” it said.

Early last year, France withdrew 200 special forces soldiers who had been operating under United States command in Afghanistan, but Le Monde said France was now expected to sanction the return of the special forces. About 50 remained to train Afghan commandos.

Under the plan, the deployment of French soldiers to the east would free United States forces there to help Canadian troops fighting insurgents in the south.
BZ to France. Let's watch and see, but with France moving forward and Canada standing-fast, NATO might just do the right thing at the last minute.

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