Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Mini Roundup On NATO and Afghanistan

I thought I might poke around the web a bit and see what more I might learn about the NATO meetings currently underway in Riga, Latvia.

One of the things I learned is that for all the partisan bluster and self-important bombast we inflict upon one another about our involvement in Afghanistan we're barely a footnote elsewhere and ofttimes not even that.

The highlights:

The China Daily notes that we've apparently committed another 1,000 troops.

"A Canadian official said Canada had pledged 1,000 more troops without geographical or other restrictions." Although some other members also said they would increase numbers no specific countries other than Canada were mentioned.

"Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi said Italy's position on troop locations and numbers had not changed and it would only move forces "in extremis."

"Tonight other countries such as Germany, France and Spain expressed the same position as ours," he said.

The Times of London reports that a joint UN-World Bank report on the opium trade in Afghanistan thinks that it's important to "...rip the trade out of the police and Interior Ministry before it has become more entrenched. " Encouraging. Although the same report notes that "...efforts at eradication are decades away from success." Not so encouraging.

Der Spiegel instructs us that a German military official felt that "One couldn't help but feel like a lousy comrade." But also that "the prevailing opinion is that the German contribution is not adequately appreciated: The KSK was deliberately not sent to Kandahar because it was planning an incursion that was important for the overall ISAF mission...On Oct. 14, a so-called "guesthouse" for suicide bombers was raided in southeast Kabul. For many years, a man believed to be a high-level middleman in the Afghan-Pakistani terror network had been harboring jihadists there. They would take refuge with him before suicide missions, and the jihadists who sought haven there are believed to have included those responsible for the June 7, 2003 attack on a bus that killed four German soldiers and injured another 29. In the time since the KSK completed its operation, the number of suicide bombings in Kabul has shrunk considerably."

And in The Guardian we learn that according to "Womankind Worldwide, ...: "It cannot be said that the status of Afghan women has changed significantly in the last five years."

Thus endeth the roundup.

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