US allies contemplate pros/cons of supporting Obama with real troops

By Incorrect Author 3 December 2009

Following Barack Obama’s Afghanistan speech, American allies – especially in NATO - continue to ponder their respective responses to his call for more support in Afghanistan. NATO SG s Rasmussen believes alliance members will add at least 5,000 soldiers to the 42,000 NATO troops already in the field. The UK and Poland are committing additional forces, but France and Germany preferred to make decisions after the upcoming Afghanistan conference in London in January. Álvaro de Vasconcelos, director of the European Union Institute for Security Studies in Paris, commented, “More troops for a very unpopular war, without knowing where we’re going, doesn’t work — you can’t sell it to Europeans, but you can sell the transition from war to crisis management.” In Kabul, FM Spanta argued Obama’s speech represented a real commitment to Afghanistan and said his government wasn’t worried about the 18-month commitment target – although it was a form of “shock therapy” to the Afghan government. Opposition leader Abdullah Abdullah, the same man who withdrew from the presidential run-off, welcomed the extra troops. However, in Pakistan, there is concern the surge will complicate the local insurgency - intertwined with Pakistan’s porous border with Afghanistan – and make Tailiban forces move into Pakistan from its neighbour. For more, read the New York Times, VOA news and the AP, among others.

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