Canada to NATO: More Troops to AFG Now!!
NATO troop commitment not negotiable!!
The U.S., Britain and France are among countries with the "capability" of meeting Canada's demand for a 1,000-soldier allied reinforcement in Afghanistan's Kandahar province, Defence Minister Peter MacKay said here today.
"It's a reasonable ask," Mr. MacKay told reporters at the start of a two-day meeting of defence ministers from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and other NATO allies fighting the Taliban insurgency.
"A thousand troops into Southern Afghanistan is highly doable, given the capabilities that exist for certain countries," he said, identifying the U.S., the United Kingdom and France as potential sources of more soldiers.
He refused to speak directly about whether speculation of a possible spring election in Canada could affect negotiations with allies on the conditions needed to extend Canada's combat mission beyond February 2009.
But he said the political dynamic will help "focus the mind," and added that success in getting allied help in Canada would send a positive signal to Canadians.
Mr. MacKay said the request of 1,000 troops won't be watered down.
"It's not a negotiable item," he said following one-on-one meetings with his counterparts from Australia, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands.
He said Canada's 2,500-soldier mission in Kandahar, which is committed only until next February, is a "linchpin" in NATO's efforts to battle the Taliban insurgency.
Will France Step Up To The Plate?
In Paris, a spokesman for President Nicolas Sarkozy said the French government was contemplating sending more soldiers to Afghanistan to augment the current 1,900-troop commitment there.
Germany: Chicken shits!!
Germany has announced it will add a 200-soldier quick reaction force to the relatively peaceful north of Afghanistan, replacing a unit being withdrawn by Norway. But Germany said the force will remain in the north, where most of its 3,000-plus soldiers are stationed, and won't engage in operations in the more dangerous south.
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