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Asia Times: Afghanistan: Why NATO cannot win

The four-month-old Republic of Montenegro on the Adriatic Sea received its first foreign dignitary on Monday when US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld arrived at its capital, Podgorica. Unknowingly, the tiny country of rugged mountains and great beauty in the Balkans with a population of 630,000 was being catapulted into the cockpit of 21st-century geopolitics.

Rumsfeld's mission was to request the inexperienced leadership in Podgorica to dispatch a military contingent to form part of the coalition of the willing in the "war on terror". Rumsfeld promised that in return, the US would help train Montenegro's fledgling army to standards of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

However, Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic could not make any commitments. Rumsfeld's proposal came at an awkward moment for the leadership in Podgorica, which had just scrapped the draft and was scaling down its 4,000-strong army to about 2,500.

This bizarre diplomatic exchange between the most awesome military power on Earth and the newest member of the "international community" brings home the paradoxes of the "war on terror" on the eve of its fifth anniversary. Three ministerial-level meetings of NATO have taken place within the space of the past month alone, specifically with the intent of ascertaining how troop strength in Afghanistan can be augmented.


by Fran on Sun Oct 1st, 2006 at 02:00:47 AM EST
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The Star: The story of C Company
PANJWAII DISTRICT, Afghanistan--One must turn back time several generations to find Canadian soldiers in the state that Charlie Company finds itself today. Not since the Korean War has a single Canadian combat unit been so cut to pieces so quickly.
....
The epic double-whammy -- a perfect Taliban ambush of unprecedented intensity, followed one day later by a devastating burst of "friendly fire" from a U.S. Air Force A-10 Warthog -- reduced Charlie to a status of "combat ineffective." They were the ones to fire the opening shots of Operation Medusa. But even as the massive Canada-led assault was gathering steam they were finished.

The soldiers left standing are not the same today as the ones who deployed to Afghanistan with nothing but good intentions barely seven weeks ago, as part of 1st Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment, based in Petawawa, Ont.
A few are emotional wrecks, too fragile still to speak of what transpired during that fateful Labour Day long weekend. Others bleed anger from their every pore.

by Fran on Sun Oct 1st, 2006 at 02:04:23 AM EST
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My first post around here so I'm going for the jugular:the NATO engagement in Afghanistan - can't win, OK-agreed? War NOT longterm winnable for same reasons why Brit-Raj lost, Russia lost (and no Russia did not lose merely because of US funding of Taliban plus AQ, real reasons being G4 warfare fuelled by Afghanis' acute zenophobia re pink-skinned non-Muslim foreign invaders-whoever-they-may-be). Both US and non-US NATO are currently saying this is NATO's testing-ground but most European NATO-troop suppliers are ambiguously still hanging around but looking more and more vague about it all, scratching and/or catching butterflies... saying "hey we only signed up for reconstruction aid" and/or "sorry but we have far more urgent business elsewhere" (i.e. too busy peacekeeping MINUS NATO in Lebanon which is MED i.e. Southern European direct zone-of-interest). US has tried to cast NATO as its lighting-rod here as it's a sure thing the mission will mess up... question is, will the defeat/failure/mess finally bring NATO crashing down with it?  And if/when it does, good thing or bad thing? Opinions, anyone?      

"Ignoring moralities is always undesirable, but doing so systematically is really worrisome." Mohammed Khatami
by eternalcityblues (parvati_roma aaaat libero.it) on Sun Oct 1st, 2006 at 09:10:26 PM EST
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You could post this as a comment in one of Joerg in Berlin's diaries of Afghanistan, or post it as your own diary.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Oct 2nd, 2006 at 02:22:49 PM EST
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I'd vote for own diary. Maybe someone can explain some things about why NATO is good to me in the mean time.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Oct 2nd, 2006 at 02:25:06 PM EST
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Still waiting for Marek's diary on Atlanticism...

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Oct 2nd, 2006 at 02:35:19 PM EST
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