Sunday, December 09, 2007

Afghanistan is not Iraq

AUSTRALIAN troops will remain in Afghanistan until at least 2010 - doubling the original two-year commitment - in a decision that has not been formally announced or debated. SMH

The proposed pull out from Iraq or partial pull out more likely, is more than welcome. Aussie military will continue to provide Iraqi administration and the US marines based there with surveillance and reconnaissance facilities, according to some reports.

The news of an extended presence came out of a report from Dutch authorities. The Dutch were going to pull out of Afghanistan, which would have taken away essential support for the Australian troops and probably forced their withdrawal. So I guess it appropriate that any leak should come out of that quarter.

While Australians generally want all the troops back Afghanistan still stands as a vastly different issue to Iraq. There is a humanitarian aspect to the Afghan conflict, as we are a preferred destination for Afghan refuges there is also a logic to helping create some stability in that region.

While there are some Australian elite troops in the country the bulk of our effort is in reconstruction. Admittedly these aren’t the sort of builders you mess with they are committed to that rebuilding process. If Rudd takes a bit of care about explaining our role there I have little doubt Aussies will fall in line with any plans for an extended tour.

No comments: