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Canadian Troops to Fill US Counter-Insurgency Role? PDF Print E-mail
Peace News
Thursday, 15 September 2005 16:05
Canadian Troops to Fill US Counter-Insurgency Role?

NY Times
- From: "Steven Staples" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it > - Picked this up yesterday - note the debate about the role of NATO's ISAF force in counter-insurgency operations, including Canada.

From the NY Times: "Britain, Canada and the Netherlands have already agreed to take over the NATO command in the south, where American troops have clashed with Taliban, in particular north of Kandahar. But it is unclear if the force in the south will be intended for counterinsurgency. "  -- Steve Staples

From: "Steven Staples" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Subject: Canadian Troops to fill US counter-insurgency role?
Date: Thu, 15 Sep 2005 16:36:46 -0400

U.S. May Start Pulling Out of Afghanistan Next Spring
The New York Times
Wed 14 Sep 2005
Page: 3
Section: Foreign
Byline: ERIC SCHMITT and DAVID S. CLOUD; Eric Schmitt reported from Kabul
for this article and David S. Cloud from Berlin. Judy Dempsey contributed
reporting from Berlin.

Senior Pentagon and military officials are discussing a proposal to cut
American troop levels in Afghanistan next spring, perhaps by as much as 20
percent, the largest withdrawal since the Taliban were ousted in late 2001.

The troops would be replaced by NATO soldiers, who now oversee security and
reconstruction missions in northern and western Afghanistan and are to take
over an American command in the south next spring. American troops have been
taxed by lengthy deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Pentagon officials
have sought to replace them with indigenous or allied troops. But Germany,
supported by Britain, France and other European allies, said Tuesday at a
meeting of defense ministers in Berlin that it strongly opposed any
American-backed restructuring of the NATO command structure that could lead
to having alliance troops become involved in counterinsurgency.

Because those operations represent a large part of American troop activity
in the south, it is not clear whether the reductions can go forward. In the
past few months, violence has surged in the south, with Taliban forces
conducting a campaign of assassinations and intimidation ahead of elections
on Sunday.

Military officials emphasize that any reductions in the nearly American
20,000 troops in Afghanistan hinge on resolution of the details with NATO,
successful parliamentary and provincial elections and stable security.

"It makes sense that as NATO forces go in, and they're more in numbers, that
we could drop some of the U.S. requirements somewhat," Gen. John P. Abizaid,
the head the United States Central Command, said in an interview here on

General Abizaid declined to give an exact number of potential troop cuts.
But another senior officer, who spoke anonymously because the decision is
not final, said the Pentagon could reduce force levels by as much as 20
percent, or about 4,000 troops.

American officials were quick to note that the United States would still
have the largest number of foreign soldiers in Afghanistan, and would remain
committed to ensuring political, economic and security gains in the country.

At the meeting in Berlin, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said he would
urge the alliance to expand its role in Afghanistan beyond its security and
peacekeeping duties.

Although Mr. Rumsfeld emphasized that American troops would continue to
handle the counterinsurgency mission "for a time," he said NATO should
consider deploying troops to the eastern border region, which the United
States oversees and where much of the fighting is occurring. He added that
"over time, it would be nice if NATO developed counterterrorism
capabilities, which don't exist at the present time."

But the German defense minister, Peter Struck, said merging NATO's
peacekeeping mission with the American combat operation under a single
commander would fundamentally change NATO's role in Afghanistan and "would
make the situation for our soldiers doubly dangerous and worsen the current
climate in Afghanistan." Officials in Britain and France also voiced
opposition to the idea.

Some American officials played down the dispute, saying that while they were
seeking to combine the operations of American and NATO forces, they were not
committed to any particular approach, and that a consensus would be worked

To overcome European opposition, the Pentagon is proposing, among other
ideas, a joint NATO command structure in which countries willing to
contribute troops to counterinsurgency would be under one officer, while
allies that want to continue to conduct peacekeeping and other noncombat
roles would fall under another. The two contingents would fall under one
overall commander.

Both France and Germany have small special forces involved in combat
alongside American troops, but most of the European contribution is to the
11,000 officers in the International Security Assistance Force, which
conducts peacekeeping and security duties in Kabul and in the north and

Britain, Canada and the Netherlands have already agreed to take over the
NATO command in the south, where American troops have clashed with Taliban,
in particular north of Kandahar. But it is unclear if the force in the south
will be intended for counterinsurgency.

Throughout Afghanistan on Tuesday, the American military continued gearing
up for an anticipated spike in insurgent attacks just before the voting.
Virtually all American troops will stand by, out of sight, to safeguard some
6,200 polling stations, which will be ringed with Afghan soldiers and police

Attacks against American forces are down slightly from a year ago,
commanders said, but this year's violence has been deadlier, with
assassinations and roadside bombings killing 2 candidates for Parliament and
at least 16 others.

Sixty-nine American service members have been killed in Afghanistan this
year, the deadliest for United States troops since the war in 2001. Some
deaths resulted from stepped-up American offensives in areas sympathetic to
the Taliban. Lt. Col. Gerald J. O'Hara, a military spokesman, said coalition
troops had killed about 600 insurgents since March.

Maj. Gen. Jason K. Kamiya, the American commander of daily tactical
operations in Afghanistan, gave details on a new plan to outfit Afghan
soldiers to fight through the winter, when both insurgent and allied troops
usually curtail operations because heavy snows make travel through
mountainous regions extremely difficult.

General Kamiya said in an interview that he wanted to keep the pressure on
Taliban fighters as they leave their summer fighting positions for sanctuary
in Pakistan or deep in the Afghan interior.

He said he was also planning to spend $68 million in reconstruction projects
by next spring in an effort to show the Afghan people that combat operations
were pushing ahead along with improvements to their villages and towns.

In a similar effort to impress villagers in the Taliban heartland, Army
engineers and the Agency for International Development recently completed a
$35 million, 74-mile road connecting Kandahar to Tarin Kwot, cutting a bone-
jarring 11-hour drive to 3 hours. Pakistanis Seize 21 Militants

(By The New York Times), PESHAWAR, Pakistan, Sept. 13 -- A top Pakistani
military commander here said Tuesday that his forces had arrested 21
militants in its mountainous northwest region, found a remotely piloted spy
plane and seized a cache of arms and communications equipment believed to be
used in insurgent operations in Afghanistan.

The commander, Lt. Gen. Safdar Hussain, in charge of military forces and
tribal agencies in the North West Frontier Province, also said his forces
had detected an office for recruiting men to fight the government and
Americans in Afghanistan.

? Photo: A patrol vehicle from Company A, 508th Infantry, casts shadows in a
town in Paktika Province, Afghanistan. (Photo by Scott Eells for The New
York Times)

Edition: Late Edition - Final
Length: 1057 words

Steven Staples
Director of Security Programs
* New address *
Polaris Institute
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Ottawa, Ontario  K2P 1P5
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Last Updated on Thursday, 15 September 2005 16:05

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