Monday, May 5, 2008

Just Business As Usual?

Remember in early April when France offered to step up and send additional troops to Afghanistan? That's right, 700 troops to the eastern part of Afghanistan. Unfortunately, not where the real fighting was in the south.

But the good news there was that that would allow the Americans to move 1,000 of their troops to the south where Canada was fighting. There was also that not so little matter of the 3,200 Marines that were to be redeployed from Iraq (where apparently they were getting a little bored) to Afghanistan. So good news that.

Well, more good news today.

The Pentagon is drawing up plans to send 7,000 additional American troops to Afghanistan to combat a resurgent Taliban and al-Qaida, at a time when NATOcountries appear unwilling to contribute further forces.

The increase is being considered after President George W. Bush returned from a NATO summit in Romania last month disappointed by few pledges of extra troops by his European allies.

The plans, which have yet to be formalized or sent to the White House, would increase the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan to about 40,000, the largest American presence since the war began more than six years ago.

So now some speak of the increasing proportion of U.S. troops, from about half to about two-thirds of the foreign troops in Afghanistan, resulting in ""the re-Americanization"" of the war. Not that there's anything wrong with that. After all, there are those, even in the US, who refer to Afghanistan as "the forgotten war". Which reminds me of a comment I noted before where a friend queried "Wasn't the US out of Afghanistan?" So more focus and more troops would have to be a good thing, no?

The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan said: "We haven’t heard anything concrete. As for the number of forces, certainly it would
be nice to have some more forces here.

"If you compare here with Iraq, there’s a clear disparity. While ISAF does a good job at offensive engagements, we have some difficulty in maintaining ground. That’s why we’re focusing on training up the Afghan security forces."

Of course, there always has to be some bad news.
Few of the additional troops are expected to materialize any time soon, the officials added.
Uh huh. Business as usual, it would seem.

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