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U.S. And NATO Drag Asia Into Afghan Quagmire

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U.S. And NATO Drag Asia Into Afghan Quagmire
Rick Rozoff

On October 7 the American and North Atlantic Treaty Organization war in Afghanistan entered its tenth year and in slightly over two months will be in its eleventh calendar year.

There are currently more than 150,000 foreign troops in the nation and the number is steadily rising.

As examples, this February Germany raised its troop numbers in Afghanistan from 4,500 to a post-World War Two overseas high of 5,350.

Italian Defence Minister Ignazio La Russa recently pledged 1,200 more troops for the war, bringing the nation's total to 4,000, during a meeting with commander of all U.S. and NATO forces General David Petraeus. This month Italy also announced it was sending three new military helicopters to the war theater and La Russa stated that he was considering authorizing bombings by Italian fighter jets in Afghanistan.

Newer NATO members in Eastern Europe have authorized comparable increases in troop deployments, with the senate of the Czech Republic voting on October 27 to boost its nation's contingent to 720 troops and Bulgaria confirming it will raise its figure to 600 by the end of the year. Moreover, the Czech Republic will redeploy special forces to Afghanistan and Bulgaria will shift from security duties to combat operations.

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Not only are NATO member states continuing to enlarge the amount of troops for a war without a foreseeable end, but Washington and Brussels are intensifying joint efforts to recruit troops from nations that have until now avoided being pulled into the Afghan imbroglio.

Earlier this year Armenia, Montenegro, Mongolia, South Korea and Malaysia became the 43rd-47th official Troop Contributing Countries for NATO's International Security Assistance Force. On October 8 the diminutive South Pacific nation of Tonga was recruited by Britain as the 48th and will deploy "more than two hundred troops to Afghanistan" as to believe British and NATO accounts of the agreement Tonga "wants to show its support to the alliance." [1]

A few days before, the U.S.'s Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke pressured the foreign minister of Bangladesh to supply combat troops to serve under NATO in Afghanistan. Four days later, on September 30, the charge d'affaires of the US mission in Dhaka, Nicholas Dean, stated, "The United States has intensified its discussion on Bangladesh's engagement in Afghanistan"." [2]

In the past week new disclosures indicate that the U.S. and NATO are broadening their Afghan war recruitment campaign throughout Asia.

A Kyodo News report of two weeks ago revealed that Japan is to deploy ten or more Self-Defense Forces medical officers and nurses to Afghanistan by the end of the year, according to sources in the nation's Ministry of Defense and military. The medical personnel would be the first members of the Self-Defense Forces stationed in the Afghan war zone, the second violation of the nation's constitutional prohibition against stationing troops in a war theater, the first being in Iraq in 2006.

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According to the Japanese press, with the new mission "Japan intends to demonstrate its personnel contributions to Afghanistan through the planned dispatch when the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is expected to decide on fresh support measures in November," at the military bloc's summit in Portugal.

"The United States, which is engaged in fighting the Taliban, has called for its allies to provide more physical support and Tokyo has determined "it is necessary to meet such expectations,'" according to the sources. [3]

However, to indicate that Japan has been no stranger to NATO's operations in Afghanistan, earlier in the month an explosive device was set off at a NATO Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) camp in the capital of Ghor province. "The majority of the personnel in the [contingent] have been deployed to multinational missions in the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan previously. Representatives of Denmark, Georgia, Japan, the USA, Poland, Finland and Ukraine serve together with Lithuanian military and civilian personnel in the Ghor PRT camp in Chaghcharan." [4]

On October 25 President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan, who had earlier provided troops for the Polish-led and NATO-supported Multinational Division Central-South in Iraq, met with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen in Brussels, after which the Kazakh head of state announced that "Several Kazakhstani troops will serve at the headquarters of the international coalition in Afghanistan," and the NATO chief "called Kazakhstan a "leading partner' of the coalition." [5]

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Rick Rozoff has been involved in anti-war and anti-interventionist work in various capacities for forty years. He lives in Chicago, Illinois. Is the manager of the Stop NATO international email list at:

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