News from the Far End of the World: Not ready to let NATO off the hook

The well-known, effete “caveats” that NATO wimps like Germany and Spain use to ensure that their troops are back on base and hunkered down by nightfall, that they never have to fire a weapon, that they are never attacked and never have to muss their hair or get dirt under their painted girly-man fingernails, have damaged the ability of the ISAF to provide security in Afghanistan.

ISAF forces operating in the south are from Britain, Canada, Australia, Estonia, Romania, the Netherlands and the United States. [link]

Notice the absence of Germany and Spain in the south of Afghanistan, where the insurgency is hottest.

This weekend NATO is meeting to discuss the allied forces’ composition in Afghanistan. AFP reports:

Rising Taliban violence has accentuated US concerns that the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) lacks the troops and capabilities needed to mount a successful counter-insurgency.

ISAF is short three infantry battalions, 3,000 trainers for the Afghan police and army and about 20 medium and heavy lift and attack helicopters.

And the US isn’t going to keep taking up the slack. Oz isn’t either; nor England. The European nations, enervated by 60 years of trusted American military protection have lost their ability to fight, or even to identify a mortal enemy. US SecDef Robert Gates is heading to Edinburgh.

Gates and defense ministers from countries whose troops are fighting in southern Afghanistan as part of a NATO-led force will meet for two days in Edinburgh to discuss the shortfalls and map a strategy to persuade other allies to do their part.

“I’m not ready to let NATO off the hook,” Gates told US lawmakers Tuesday, sharply criticizing members of the alliance for failing to live up to commitments made more than a year ago at a summit in Riga. [link]

Related: Oz has spoken!

Gordon Brown has a strategery for Afghanistan that may be bearing fruit.

Afghans claim hundreds of Taliban were killed in the fighting in Musa Qala. Hip hip hooray!

Just in case there exists someone out there hasn’t yet grasped exactly how odious and rotten a bunch of murderous bandits they are, the Taliban executed a 60-year-old lady from Charchino district of Uruzgan province for “spying.” They also executed her 7-year-old grandson. Some freedom fighters, eh?

In response to concerns over what might happen to Pakistan’s nukes in case Al Qaeda’s insurgency succeeds, Musharraf issued an ordinance making him the “head of the National Command Authority which is responsible for development and control of atomic weapons.

For those who are sick of the incredibly long political campaigns in the US, at least the US doesn’t have the violence of the Pakistani version. [more]

Qazi Hussain Ahmed, the chief of Jamaat-e-Islami, president of the MMA alliance in Pakistan, and boycotter extraordinaire, has decreed that any member of his political organization who actually runs for office will be kicked out of the political alliance, proving he is either insane or stupid. Who ever heard of a political party with the purpose of ensuring its members do not win office, or even run for it? That’s like removing the motor from a car after you’ve already left on the road trip.

Speaking of boycotts, lawyers backing Nawaz Sharif for President are now mad at him because he won’t boycott the race.

Someone is missing the point. Winner-takes-all politics requires extreme candidates to moderate their positions in order to get elected. That is the whole reason it works. Boycotts are not moderate by any stretch of the word, and boycotters will always lose elections. Hip hip hooray!

Benazir Bhutto has extracted an oath sworn upon the Koran from members of her PPP party to refrain from exploiting party workers if they are elected. One would hope that this would bind them against exploiting the people who voted for them as well, but given Bhutto’s past entanglements with theft and political corruption this might be one hope too far. By the way, what verse does one meditate upon when taking an oath on the Koran? Hopefully not Medinan passages such as 2:225 and 66:2.

[2:225] Allah will not call you to account for thoughtlessness in your oaths, but for the intention in your hearts; and He is Oft-forgiving, Most Forbearing.

[66:2] Allah has already ordained for you, (O men), the dissolution of your oaths (in some cases): and Allah is your Protector, and He is Full of Knowledge and Wisdom.

Quetta, which swarms with Al Qaeda types, was hit by suicide bombers.

Finally, in the news that Pakistanis actually care about, Pakistan exploited the rules and bad weather to escape with a draw in the Cricket Tests against India. India fans are not amused.

Trackposted to Pirate’s Cove, Celebrity Smack, Leaning Straight Up, Allie is Wired, Chuck Adkins, High Desert Wanderer, and The Yankee Sailor, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

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