Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Now that NATO has taken over the duties of propping up the government of Hamid Karzai in Afghanistan, some are starting to think this might be a good model for getting some US troops out of Iraq.

Not so fast.
Canada does not have the troops in Afghanistan to expand its peace-support role outside the capital, the top Canadian soldier in the country said today as NATO took command of the 5,000-member international security force in Kabul.

Brig.-Gen. Andrew Leslie said that with 1,950 Canadian soldiers committed to helping secure the interim government of President Hamid Karzai, Canada is already making the single largest contribution to the 31-nation International Security Assistance Force, or ISAF.

Leslie said Canada would have to bring in more troops or another country would have to chip in if ISAF heeded Afghan government calls to expand its operations area outside Kabul.

"If we go outside the box, we'll have to contribute more soldiers or get someone else to do it," said Leslie, commander of Canadian Forces in Afghanistan and deputy chief of ISAF.

"I think we're contributing enough right now." . . .

So far, however, no other country has backed the idea of expanding ISAF's responsibilities.
If the country contributing the most troops to the NATO force can't (or won't) send any more, how in the world is NATO going to replace tens of thousands of Americans in Iraq?

George, I guess it's time to order some more Poles. Who would have thought that NATO enlargement would primarily be a nice clean way to buy mercenaries?

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