Afghanistan war won't end like Vietnam: NATO


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Oct 13, 2010
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Afghanistan war won't end like Vietnam: NATO

BRUSSELS: The Afghan army will not collapse when international troops end their combat role, in the way that South Vietnam's did in the 1970s, NATO's top officer said on Thursday.

Italian Adm. Giampaolo Di Paola said the international community intends to remain committed to Afghanistan after NATO forces hand over responsibility to the Afghan security forces in 2014.

"About 60 countries are engaged in the broader effort," Di Paola told reporters. "It is not just a bilateral or trilateral effort, as it was (in Vietnam)."

"The United Nations, the World Bank, many non-governmental organisations are all there," he said. "That is the fundamental difference."

The US-led military coalition in Afghanistan numbers more than 140,000 troops - two-thirds of them Americans. The allies hope to have trained a total of 306,000 Afghan army and police by the end of this year. They face an estimated 25,000 insurgents.

The Obama administration expects to start drawing down its forces in Afghanistan in July, when the first of the country's 34 provinces will be turned over to Afghan control. NATO's combat role will end in 2014, but some support units will remain in the country to help the Afghan security forces in case of need.

"The way the Afghan security forces are being trained is much better than in 1975," said Di Paola, who heads NATO's military committee - the alliance's highest military body.

Today, during a conference of the chiefs of military staffs of NATO's 28 nations and their allies, he said "the overwhelming conclusion was that we are on the right track, that overall we are moving forward" toward the goal set for 2014.

In South Vietnam, US and allied troops pulled out in 1973, after almost a decade of war. Two years later, the South's army - which the Americans and French before them had trained for almost 30 years - collapsed within a matter of weeks during a communist offensive.

Some historians say the two wars are fundamentally similar. They have drawn parallels between Afghanistan's deeply flawed elections, and the failed effort in Vietnam to legitimise a military regime lacking broad popular support through an imposed presidential election in 1967.

In August 2009, President Barack Obama's then-envoy to Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke and the top US and NATO commander there, Gen Stanley McChrystal, contacted a key Vietnam historian to discuss what to do in Afghanistan.

Report: Times of India


Sikkimese Saber
Senior Member
Aug 20, 2010
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It is important that we start unilaterally asking Afghan government to let us train their soldiers. We need to start showing that we are independent and not NATO lackeys enough to gain the trust of Afghans that "there is a credible friend in the region". Afghan soldiers share a terrain that is very similar to our east and northeast (rough, dry, high deserts in Ladakh and some in here Sikkim). Our soldiers are the only ones apart from Pakistanis and Chinese to be able to fight at such high altitudes with tangible results. Such is our capability that even Russian and US troops have come to train in high altitude warfare from us.

Afghanistan's battlefield will have only marginal effect in terms of high-tech weapons reliance that NATO troops are so over-dependent on compared to what is actually required in that terrain. And we know it better than all others. Hence we should begin influencing Afghan government in such a way that they explicitly ask for our visible military training assistance.

And for those who cry "Pakistan is getting antagonized", we care a rat's bottom. Unless we show that we are a strong country in foreign policy, we will continue to be undermined.

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