I wrote a post called Canada Chokes On European Cowardice last week. It highlighted the fact that Stephen Harper the Canadian PM was threatening to withdraw Canada’s force of 2500 from Afghanistan if the continental European nations are not willing to do their fair share of the fighting, especially France and Germany.
Canada has endured 87 killed in Kandahar so far, and feels that its force is stretched to its limits coping with the fighting it is doing. It could with reinforcements, and assistance.
France came away from the NATO meeting last week in Vilnius, where these issues were raised by Canada, saying they will be reviewing the possibility of sending more troops, and Germany said it was willing to allow a small force of 200 to go to help the Canadians in a crisis. It was the bare minimum. The result of France’s review won’t be known until NATO’s next meeting in April.
Now the recently appointed Australian Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon has weighed into the debate, saying in an interview with The Australian newspaper on Sunday that ‘Obviously if we don’t get many troops in Afghanistan, success is doubtful.’ In the opinion of the Wall Street Journal, owned by Rupert Murdoch, Mr Rudd, the new Australian PM is ‘unlikely to risk his 1000 strong force in Afghanistan in a losing fight’. He has already committed to pulling his country’s force out of Iraq.
The WSJ adds, ‘Europe, are you listening?’
Answer came there none.