Germany Yields To Canadian Pressure

I wrote earlier in my post Canada Chokes On European Cowardice that the Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper was being openly critical of the unwillingness of many European countries to carry their fair share of the fighting in NATO operations against The Taleban in Afghanistan.

It is therefore with interest that I read the report from the BBC today summing up the meeting of NATO that has just finished in Vilnius, called NATO dismisses Afghanistan Crisis

BBC defence correspondent Caroline Wyatt says that the real test of all this optimism will come in April at the Nato summit in Bucharest, when the alliance will find out which countries will live up to their commitments.

Canada has warned it will pull its contingent of 2,500 troops out of the country next year unless allies provide reinforcements in Kandahar province.

Canada has called for extra troops to help its force in Kandahar
At the Vilnius talks, Canadian Defence Minister Peter MacKay stressed he wanted Nato members to pledge to provide the reinforcements by April.

“It’s not a negotiable item. We need 1,000 troops,” he said. “We have to deliver on that commitment before we can extend our mission.”

No nations publicly announced a decision to increase their troop numbers at the meeting, however, though French Defence Minister Herve Morin confirmed Paris was considering a greater role in Afghanistan.

“My message to the Canadian public is: be a bit patient,” he said.

On Wednesday, Germany announced it would send a 200-strong rapid reaction force to northern Afghanistan, but said they would not be deployed in the south except in an emergency.

Reading between the lines, that means Germany is willing to start sending troops to Kandahar or Helmand. And France sounds as if she is going to be sending more troops. Canadian pressure is obviously working.

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