Skip to content

Europe Loses Afghanistan and America Looks at Nice Pictures

"The American ambassador to Kabul has accused European members of Nato of jeopardising the future of the alliance by refusing to send troops to Afghanistan, or banning their forces from entering areas with heavy fighting." writes the British Telegraph:
Ronald Neumann, who has survived two attempts on his life this year, said European nations must not turn "coward" and "run away" from fighting terrorism in Afghanistan. In an interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel, Mr Neumann said some Europeans "obviously resist the idea that you have an army in order to fight. And I have very little patience for that". (...)
In Germany the lower house of parliament voted by a large margin to extend the peacekeeping mandate of the 2,750 German troops serving with Nato for a further year. The German foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, told the Bundestag that Nato had no choice but to stay. "Afghanistan is only lost if we give it up," he said. (...)
Spanish officials briefed the Madrid press that their government -- in conjunction with France, Germany and Belgium -- had seen off a request from the military commander of Nato, Gen James Jones, to mobilise ground forces from the "Eurocorps" -- a rapid reaction force made up of troops from several European nations. Spanish sources told El Pais newspaper that the four European nations had told Gen Jones the rapid reaction force was for unforeseen emergencies, and not for propping up an existing mission.
Clearly, more troops are urgently needed. Even compared to Iraq, there are too few troops in Afghanistan. The situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated and all three international editions of Newsweek's latest issue have "Losing Afghanistan" on the cover. "The Rise of Jihadistan" is the cover story: "Five years after the Afghan invasion, the Taliban are fighting back hard, carving out a sanctuary where they -- and Al Qaeda's leaders -- can operate freely." The U.S. edition, however, has a cover story about Annie Leibovitz's Amazing 'Life in Pictures'. This is not the first time for Newsweek: See the Atlantic Review post: "Dream on America".

President Bush is often asked why he does not send more troops to Iraq (Afghanistan does not seem to be that much of an issue compared to Iraq). He often replies that he would send more troops, if the military commanders would request them. Well, U.S. generals request more troops for Afghanistan, but it seems primarily the Europeans get blamed for not sending additional troops. More about NATO's Increasing Involvement in Afghanistan, NATO's Difficulties to Get More Troops for Afghanistan, and A Global NATO for more Burden Sharing?

Trackbacks

Atlantic Review on : Iraq: Polling, Reporting, Planning, and Learning

Show preview
• Polls: The public diplomacy blog Eccentric Star quotes an AP report about Iraqi views of their country's future, including this: About six in 10 Iraqis say they approve of attacks on U.S.-led forces, and slightly more than that want their governmen

Atlantic Review on : Iraq: Analysis of U.S. Media Coverage and the Mortality Estimates

Show preview
While "the Bush administration has complained about the tenor of media coverage of the war in Iraq ever since the April 2003 looting that followed the fall of Baghdad," negative stories in the U.S. media have only "outweighed positive ones

Comments

Display comments as Linear | Threaded

alec on :

This is one issue I feel fairly combative about towards the Germans and French. 3000 Germans in Afghanistan and how many French? Less than that I believe. And for the first 4 years of combat, both nations pretty much refused to help in southern Afghanistan, the most combat prone area. While I am glad to see NATO involved in southern Afghanistan currently, I am displeased that Afghanistan has been America and Great Britain's project for the most part. I am completely opposed to the Iraq war, but I see Afghanistan as a fundamental and necessary endeavor in response to a serious threat. 9/11, in my view, could have happened to any Western country, and thus it is the responsibility of the West to rebuild Afghanistan. As opposed to the Iraq insurgency that has been built from support of the people and originating from political and economic disenfranchisement, the Afghani insurgency, while growing, is contained to the extremists in southern Afghanistan along the Pakistani border. It is, in essence, an insurgency that can be dealt with forcibly if NATO gets serious about using their forces instead of being a defensive, barracks-ridden force. While I do not share the world view of Mr. Neumann, it feels nauseating to witness European countries shirk their responsibilities in a multilateral effort.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

Alec, I agree with most of what you say. That's why I wrote a lot recently on Afghanistan and the lack of troops from Europe. However, I think America contributes 60% of the foreign troops in Afghanistan and European and other allies contribute 40%. That sounds pretty fair to me. (Well, there is a difference in capabilities, of course.) > 9/11, in my view, could have > happened to any Western country, and thus it is the > responsibility of the West to rebuild Afghanistan. Exactly! Besides, as you write we need to rebuild Afghanistan rather than just fight the Taliban. Figthing the Taleban and others is just treating the symptoms. We have to discourage folks from joining the Taleban and other groups who take arms against NATO and the Afghan army. That's why I think even NATO forces that do not fight in the South make a good contribution. They provide security for reconstruction efforts. Re forces being "barracks-ridden": How big is this problem? Re France: They got some 900 soldiers in Afghanistan, I believe. Italy, Poland, the Netherlands, the UK, and Germany contribute more troops to ISAF than France. > the Afghani insurgency, while > growing, is contained to the extremists in southern > Afghanistan along the Pakistani border. While the South is most dangerous, the [b][url=http://atlanticreview.org/archives/401-NATOs-Difficulties-to-Get-More-Troops-for-Afghanistan.html]other regions are far from stable either[/url][/b]. Many military experts have advocated the oil-spot strategy for Iraq. Andrew Krepinevich wrote about it in Foreign Affairs: How to Win in Iraq: [quote="Andrew Krepinevich in Foreign Affairs"]"Because they lack a coherent strategy, U.S. forces in Iraq have failed to defeat the insurgency or improve security. Winning will require a new approach to counterinsurgency, one that focuses on providing security to Iraqis rather than hunting down insurgents. And it will take at least a decade."[/quote] The article is freely available at [b][url=http://www.foreignaffairs.org/20050901faessay84508/andrew-f-krepinevich-jr/how-to-win-in-iraq.html]Foreign Affairs[/url]. [/b] I am not expert, but I think NATO is pursueing this strategy in Afghanistan with the regional reconstruction teams. That's why I believe it is important that the German troops in the north of Afghanistan do NOT redeploy to the south. Rather than shifting forces in Afghanistan, we need additional troops in Afghanistan.

Don on :

" I think America contributes 60% of the foreign troops in Afghanistan and European and other allies contribute 40%. That sounds pretty fair to me." Indeed. Most fair. If one added the population of thre US and the EU together I think you would find that the US has 40% and the EU 60% of the total - give or take a couple percent. So obviously it's the very quintessance of fairness for the 40% to contribute 60% and the 60% contribute 40%.... Still this is exceedingly unfair to suffering Germany. Had the US not unwisely committed itself to Iraq - then the US could contribute 100% and Germany need not be there at all! Nor suffering France, Italy, etc. Well, perhaps small teams of staff officers to provide strategic guidance and issue orders to the actual soldiers - which in the natural order of things should come exclusively from the US and the UK!

Don on :

The international system since the fall of the Berlin Wall has come to resemble a game of 'buck-buck', which was an invention of comedian Bill Cosby. One small group of players line up anchored by a light pole and another very large team of players jumps on their backs one by one unt8il they break. The US and UK are the small team in this case and the rest of NATO lines up and do everything they can to make it more difficult for them. Now team #2 (Germany, France, Italy, Spain et al) are lined up and taking some hits - complaining bitterly about the lack of help from team #1 (US and UK). This despite the fact that their 'burden' even now is a fraction of what team #1 has borne for several years and will bear into the indefinite future. The richest irony of all are the complaints from 'team #2' that the US is not expanding it's armed forces to help them out. Not a peep about expanding their own forces..... A bit of a reversal from years past this is, when the routine trenchant criticism was that the crazed nazi militarists (aka US) spent too much on the military.

Fullie on :

Atlantic Review does not even feel any obligation to have a blog on the Senate vote yesterday. 65 out of 100 senators voted to ALLOW TORTURING prisoners of war. A clear denial of the Geneva convention. America now really has turned into a terror state. What surprised me most is that even John McCain, who suffered torture for more than 7 years in the Hanoi Hilton voted FOR torture. The other Vietnam veteran in the Senate, John Kerry, voted NO. Here is the vote name by name so you can see how the keepers of democracy voted: http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=109&session=2&vote=00259 And here is a detailed list of what the law allows: http://www.20min.ch/news/ausland/story/22285858 Our stremlined media such as SPIEGEL ONLINE do not even bother to report on this. No outcry among Fulbrighters. No messages on Atlantic Review. I assume you all agree with these drastic measures. Wake up people! Today it's "enemy unlawful combatants" (quote from the legislation), tomorrow it's you! Some day the Americans will have to suffer for it. They will be punished. Ironically, it is them who claim to be God's own people. http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/0,1518,437968,00.html What kind of country is this that officially allows torture after their supreme court slapped them on the wrist for doing so? One should stay away. Senator Fulbright will turn in his grave.

clarence on :

>65 out of 100 senators >voted to ALLOW TORTURING >prisoners of war. They voted for no such thing, and a Swiss tv station is not exactly where most people would turn for facts. It is possible to have a debate on whether the Geneva Conventions apply to terrorists (they don't, by the way); it is certainly reasonable to debate the limits of interrogation and intimidation. But if you are going to use labels like "torture", and "terror state", you preclude any debate. I notice that you disparage my country, without identifying yours. Why is that?

Torture on :

Column: Some things are hard to forget By Dan Ehl DAILY IOWEGIAN (AND AD EXPRESS) (CENTERVILLE, Iowa) CENTERVILLE, Iowa — George W. Bush isn’t waiting for some Gerald Ford to pardon him down the road if things go awry. He’s getting official amnesia — amnesty, which I’ve read means “from the Greek stem amnestia, meaning to forget, is an act of the legislature whose aim is to erase an accomplished fact which would otherwise be punishable, and so either to prevent or to stop legal action, or, as the case may be, to erase any sentence.” Congress is following the lead of such "dirty war" nations as Argentina and Chile by passing an amnesty law protecting U.S. government operatives, up to the president, who have committed or are responsible for human rights crimes. Though George W. says he is in a fight for civilization, it appears to be a civilization favored by Attila the Hun or Hermann Goering. There is more than enough documentation and physical evidence to prove a large number of suspected terrorists have died or suffered permanent injuries at the hands of U.S. agents. Under international law, other governments can prosecute violations of the Geneva Conventions and the U.N. Convention Against Torture. Amnesty International has asked foreign governments to uphold these obligations by investigating all senior U.S. officials involved in our torture scandals. Among those officials targeted for investigation are Bush, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director George Tenet and senior officers at U.S. detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and Abu Ghraib, Iraq. Bush convinced Congress to re-define the government’s interpretation of Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions. Article 3 bans "outrages upon personal dignity" and "humiliating and degrading treatment." Those rules sound pretty good when one thinks they would also apply to our own young men and women if they fell into the hands of an enemy. Bush said such re-defining would provide U.S. officers more leeway in the methods they could use to interrogate “enemy combatants.” And in the true spirit of a civilized and free democracy, Bush asked for the right to withhold evidence from suspects, as well as being able to hold defendants in custody without telling them why it is necessary (denying habeas corpus protection). All this is pretty surreal. Here is the president of the United States wanting permission to torture prisoners and be forgiven later if he has to pay the piper. No wonder the rest of the world thinks we’ve gone bonkers. One method of interrogation approved for CIA use in 2002 is water boarding. According to ABC News, “The prisoner is bound to an inclined board, feet raised and head slightly below the feet. Cellophane is wrapped over the prisoner's face and water is poured over him. Unavoidably, the gag reflex kicks in and a terrifying fear of drowning leads to almost instant pleas to bring the treatment to a halt. “According to the sources, CIA officers who subjected themselves to the water boarding technique lasted an average of 14 seconds before caving in. They said al Qaeda's toughest prisoner, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, won the admiration of interrogators when he was able to last between two and two-and-a-half minutes before begging to confess.” "The person believes they are being killed, and as such, it really amounts to a mock execution, which is illegal under international law," says John Sifton of Human Rights Watch. It reminds me of those old gangster movies where One-Ear Louie is shoving an opposing gang’s member’s head in a toilet stool to learn where the money is hidden, accept now instead of One-Ear Louie, we have Agent Smith. Experienced CIA officials say such confessions are notoriously unreliable. One would admit to anything under such frightening pressure. Also, according to ABC News, “Ibn al Shaykh al Libbi, after two weeks of enhanced interrogation, made statements that were designed to tell the interrogators what they wanted to hear. Sources say Al Libbi had been subjected to each of the progressively harsher techniques in turn and finally broke after being water boarded and then left to stand naked in his cold cell overnight where he was doused with cold water at regular intervals. “His statements became part of the basis for the Bush administration claims that Iraq trained al Qaeda members to use biochemical weapons. Sources tell ABC that it was later established that al Libbi had no knowledge of such training or weapons and fabricated the statements because he was terrified of further harsh treatment.” The House and Senate both passed the bill and it should be on George W.’s desk by the time this column sees print. The votes pretty much went along party lines. I’m wondering if Amnesty International is going to add those senators and representatives voting yes to its list of possible war criminals. Maybe that’s half the reason they’re including the amnesty legislation. Dan Ehl writes for the Daily Iowegian in Centerville. “We live in a world where amnesia is the most wished-for state. When did history become a bad word?” John Guare

Anonymous on :

WASHINGTON, DC—Led by a bipartisan group of senators critical of White House policy on suspected terrorists, the Senate passed a bill Thursday that prohibits interrogators from exceeding 100 amps per testicle when questioning detainees. "Even in times of war, it counterproductive and wrong to employ certain inhumane interrogation techniques, and using three-digit amperage levels on the testicles of captives constitutes torture... http://www.theonion.com/content/node/53539

Don on :

Sounds good to me. Even subhuman fascist monsters have to have SOME limits!

JW-Atlantic Review on :

I have just cross-posted my article at European Tribune. Check out the comments over there. They are much different from the discussions at Atlantic Review... [url]http://www.eurotrib.com/story/2006/9/29/134725/335[/url] To reply to their comments, you would need to register at [url]http://www.eurotrib.com/newuser[/url] which is really fast. Hopefully some of their regulars post comments on Atlantic Review. Then we would have a transatlantic fight, eh, debate.

alec on :

Ugh, I don't have the desire to get into that discussion. My basic reaction is you don't have to equate George Bush with Afghanistan. At all. We would have been in this if Gore was President as well.

Don on :

Yup, alec. Alone or with the UK only, by now.

Thomas on :

Why isn't NATO burning the poppy fields? Without the enormous profits from opium sales, the Taleban would not be able to pay and equip their fighters.

fredouil on :

it s look like Fulbright means brainwashed too. if you really like to kill people, just enlist in the US army and ask to be send there, you will have tons of Afghans patriots to kill in the name of the torture flag. Europeans armies should not be allowed to invade any country, not in my name. i hope we will withdraw ASAP and say sorry. your war against Islam (what ever its flavor but you call it Terra) is going to create a useless catastrophe. shame

fredouil on :

BTW i start to understand why your are quite warmonger, your scholarship has been paid by weaponry : "funds resulting from the sale of surplus U.S. military supplies were used to finance international academic exchange. The bill became the basis of the Fulbright program, named in his honor." i guess, the anglosaxons wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will allow some fat Fulbright scholarship. good on you, mate

JW-Atlantic Review on :

You are very funny! I invite you to have a closer look at the various posts on our blog.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

One more reason why Europe should do more in Afghanistan: Europe -- rather than America -- has been the biggest consumer of opium from Afghanistan for many years. The Taleban have only tackled the opium growing in 1999 or 2000. Before that they made a lot of money with opium as well. Now the opium problem has increased again: [quote="Alertnet"]Afghanistan's opium harvest is set to increase by nearly 60 percent this year due to a massive jump in cultivation in the insurgency-hit south, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) says. UNODC's Annual Opium Survey found the area used for opium cultivation had reached a record 165,000 ha in 2006 compared with 104,000 in 2005. Afghanistan produces more than 90 percent of the world's opium, which mostly ends up in the heroin markets of western Europe and Russia. [url=http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/IRIN/d037e072e25983e66f5ef527b1fff7f3.htm]Alertnet[/url] [/quote] Since Afghanistan's opium is mostly consumed by Europeans, it is Europeans who finance the warlords and fuel the fighting. Does not this mean that Europe is responsible for the suffering of so many Afghans before 9/11 and today as well? I think it does. There are two options: a) Legalization of opimum in Europe. b) Sending more troops and increasing efforts of reconciliation between warlords/tribes etc. and increasing reconstruction in Afghanistan, i.e. stabilizing the country, providing job alternatives to growing opium. I would prefer legalization, because everybody is responsible for how he treats his body. If people want to take drugs they shall. The criminalization of drugs means that drugs are expensive and many drug addicts commit crimes to pay for the drugs. Besides, legalization of drugs would help in the war on terror. It would rob the warlords of the money to buy arms and employ combatants. However most Europeans are against legalization. Thus the Europe should send more troops. However the United States should also send more troops. The US has 150,000 troops in Iraq, but only 20,000 in Afghanistan. That does not make sense. 9/11 was planned and inspired in Afghanistan, not Iraq. If the US would legalize drugs, then its war on drugs in South America would not be such a disaster.

Don on :

Looking at one of Joerg's previous posts I see that Germany is contributing 2651 toorps, Italy 1464, France 932, and Spain 612 trrops in Afghanistan. The US has at least 22,000 troops in Afghanistan and the British about 5500. Adding up the figures it would seem that the combined contribution of the four major continental powers in Europe equal - the British total. With a combined population roughly equal to that of the US the EU 'Big Four' have managed to scrape up a number equal to that contributed by Great Britain - to Afghanistan only. Add in the UK's Iraq deplaoyment and their total outstrips the 'Big Four' by maybe 500%. The Us deployment of 22,000 in Afghanistan alone outweighs that of the 'Big Four' by 400%. Add in Iraq and we can see that the US is about 2000% more committed to the War on Terror than the Big Four. The conclusion is obvious to anyone with a logical ability to marshall fact: The US and UK have been shirking and must deploy even more troops to equal the brave efforts of the 'Big Four'. No?

Add Comment

E-Mail addresses will not be displayed and will only be used for E-Mail notifications.

To prevent automated Bots from commentspamming, please enter the string you see in the image below in the appropriate input box. Your comment will only be submitted if the strings match. Please ensure that your browser supports and accepts cookies, or your comment cannot be verified correctly.
CAPTCHA

Form options