WAR IN AFGHANISTAN: Why an Expansion of Nato's Role Has Divided the Dutch ; ANALYSIS
Castle, Stephen, The Independent (London, England)
In the Netherlands the issue could yet bring down the government' in Britain it has hardly been discussed.
Nato's planned expansion to the south of Afghanistan opens a new and dangerous chapter in Western involvement in a lawless country and, for the politicians and the military, the stakes are high. Nato's preparations have been held up for weeks as first the Dutch cabinet, and now the country's parliament, debate whether to deploy around 1,400 soldiers. Politicians there are questioning whether a peacekeeping mission can operate in such a treacherous environment.
It all seems so different from the aftermath of the attacks on the twin towers in 2001, when European nations were falling over each other to take part in the US mission against the Taliban, complaining bitterly when their offers were spurned.
Since then Europe's appetite for involvement has faded as disputes over Iraq divided the alliance. That has often left Nato pleading for troops, helicopters, and other equipment.
Nato's Isaf (International Security Assistance Force) mission currently numbers about 9,200 troops including 1,100 Britons. Initially restricted to the capital Kabul, the alliance has spread its efforts to around half of Afghanistan through so-called Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) designed to bring regional stability.
The next stage foresees an expansion to the south with the creation of at least four new PRTs, meaning Nato will operate in three-quarters of Afghanistan.
For Britain this will result in a significant new commitment. The UK plans to deploy the Headquarters Group of the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps to lead Isaf from May involving …
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Publication information: Article title: WAR IN AFGHANISTAN: Why an Expansion of Nato's Role Has Divided the Dutch ; ANALYSIS. Contributors: Castle, Stephen - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: January 17, 2006. Page number: 2. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.