US Requests 2,500 Troops for Afghanistan; only 20 Sent
By foreign News Desk | September 13, 2006
As fierce clashes continue in Afghanistan, the first battleground in the U.S.-led war on terror after the Sept. 11 attacks, calls by NATO commanders for additional troops were not answered.
Reporting that only Latvia responded to the request by announcing it would send 20 troops, the British press commented the U.S.’s closest NATO allies, including Turkey, had abandoned Washington on a key battle field. In its front-page story about the issue, The Times of London noted many countries, which had supported the U.S. in its war on terror, simply ignored its urgent call for an additional 2,500 troops to fight against al-Qaeda and the Taliban.
The paper stressed in its Monday edition that NATO members only discussed the deployment of 20 troops and reported that major NATO allies, including Turkey, Germany, Spain and Italy, openly refused to send more troops. France, which sent a substantial number of troops to Lebanon, was not expected to contribute to NATO’s military presence in Afghanistan.
The Financial Times, which interviewed Lt. Gen. David Richards, commander of the NATO forces in Afghanistan, reported the British commander as saying that the nations mentioned had ignored NATO’s calls for more troops in Afghanistan for nearly 18 months. The Taliban, which was declared “history,” soon after it was toppled in 2001, recently intensified its attacks against U.S. and NATO forces in the country’s South. It is estimated that nearly 500 Taliban members were killed during the “Medusa Operation,” initiated ten days ago in response to the Taliban’s resurgence.
Currently 20,000 American troops and 20,755 NATO forces are stationed in Afghanistan, where the U.S. and Britain have lost 272 and 32 soldiers respectively since 2001.