"Transition doesn't mean exit. There should be no misunderstanding: we are not going to leave Afghanistan to fall back into the hands of terrorists and the extremists who host them. It will not happen,” said NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
Hillary Clinton did call these troop levels a "significant contribution" and said she was pleased by the numbers, so maybe I am just off. It also sounds like the Pentagon was hoping for around 10,000 troops from NATO, which did not happen. They gave about the same ratio of expectations/ requests as Obama did to the U.S. forces.
25 NATO countries, besides the U.S., have pledged troops to the Afghanistan effort- a total of 7,000 troops… er? Is that a lot? We send 30,000 and everyone else pools their people and resources to send less than a quarter of that? I know this is our fight, in a sense, so anything is good, but let’s remember these kind of numbers in the future.
"It will still take more time, more commitment and more patience to reach our shared goal,” said Ramussen- the shared goal being to kill the Taliban and get out of Afghanistan, leaving behind a functioning, west-supporting democratic government that is eternally grateful to us for freeing it from the bonds and chains of extremist Muslim rule. I continue to think that the idea of victory in the war is the thing that will make it fail- our expectation and goal is ridiculous.
Even if we are able to train the Afghan forces in the next year and a half and begin to withdraw, will they be taking on a battle that the allied forces are winning? Right now the insurgency is reportedly as strong as it has ever been, creating “strongholds” in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. [Which is just so amazing to think about- what exactly is a stronghold and what exactly do we need to do to surround and blow it up?]
France and Germany are dragging their feet on sending more troops- imagine that. Next time you line up to criticize Obama for taking a long time to decide something, think about those guys.
I think this kind of a crossroad tells the tale of international efforts in Afghanistan- the U.S. is going to put in about 4x what everyone else is going to contribute, which may be appropriate, as probably 400% of the al Qaeda threat is directed at us. But this is about the Taliban as well, and they are as much of an enemy to everyone else in the world as they are to us.
It’s time for China to step up in this one- if they are going to be the next world power- and they are- then they need to start stamping down the issues with as much vigor as we are. The problem, of course, being that they are not committed to freedom and democracy- they are a communist country with a history of stamping out opposition ideas and people within their own borders- could this mean that as long as other countries are not threatening them directly, China will pretty much leave them be?
That remains to be seen- what is for certain now is that the U.S. has decided on troop levels and NATO is, for the most part, with us.