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 NATO members argue over Afghan roles

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lodgebo

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PostSubject: NATO members argue over Afghan roles   Fri Feb 01, 2008 8:01 pm

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany rejected on Friday a call from the United States to send combat soldiers to dangerous parts of southern Afghanistan and said there were no plans to change its deployment in the less violent north.
Following a strongly worded letter from U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates, German Defence Minister Franz Josef Jung said he did not envisage a change to the mandate allowing Germany to send 3,500 troops to northern Afghanistan.
"We have agreed on a clear division of labour," Jung told reporters on Friday. "I think that we really must keep our focus on the North."
German Chancellor Angela Merkel had also made clear that Germany's parliamentary mandate was "not up for discussion", government spokesman Ulrich Wilhelm told a news conference. Jung said he would write to Gates to explain the German position.
NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said Gates's letter, which asked Germany and other NATO members to boost the 40,000-strong NATO International Security Assistance Force by another 3,200 troops, was "not helpful".
He told reporters in Paris after meeting French President Nicolas Sarkozy it was unfair to say Germany was doing too little and he would prefer it if any discussion on boosting troop numbers was not done in public.
"Force generation is important. We have to do more. But it is not helpful," he said, referring to the Gates letter.
"It obscures the success that we are having in Afghanistan in reconstruction and development. We have to do more, no doubt about that, but I think it's not very helpful to do that publicly," he added.
German politicians are wary of making a greater commitment as opinion polls show public scepticism about the mission.
Ernst Uhrlau, head of Germany's BND foreign intelligence service, told German radio he expected more suicide attacks in Afghanistan and an increase in violence in the north.
"We must take into account that there will be more violent assaults once winter is over with the additional goal of killing civilians via suicide attacks," Uhrlau told SWR2 radio.
Earlier this week, the U.S. Pentagon had said it would press NATO's European members to send more soldiers to southern Afghanistan after a call from Canada for reinforcements.
Canada had threatened to pull out its 2,500 soldiers from Afghanistan early next year unless NATO sent more troops.
The United States has repeatedly criticised the reluctance of European allies to dedicate more combat troops and equipment to Afghanistan where Taliban attacks have been rising.
An official at Sarkozy's office confirmed France had received the Gates letter but declined to comment further.
NATO defence ministers will discuss operations in Afghanistan at a meeting in Vilnius later this month.
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Dekka00

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PostSubject: Re: NATO members argue over Afghan roles   Sat Feb 02, 2008 8:42 am

we oughta pull the troops out of Iraq and stick them in Afganistan.
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lodgebo

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PostSubject: Re: NATO members argue over Afghan roles   Sat Feb 02, 2008 11:00 am

Thing that annoys me is that Germany say they don't have the mandate to send troops to the combat zone but they managed to send troops to fight in Bosnia, maybe I am to cynical or maybe it's because Afghanistan is more deadly than Bosnia.
I spoke to a freind who has done tours in Afghanistan and he says that they can take towns and buildings from the Taliban but the problem is that once they take the towns they have to move on and thier is nobody available to hold the areas, he told me in six months his regiment took the same area from the Taliban 7 times, had the Germans or French been willing to get thier hands dirty this would not be an issue.
If you want to be a member of NATO you have to contribute fully to the op's IMO
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