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Meanwhile, in Afghanistan

There are currently around 1,600 Australian troops in Afghanistan. A Reconstruction Task Force based around the 1st Combat Engineer Regiment with elements from the 5th/7th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, 6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, and the Special Air Service is based in Orūzgān Province in southern Afghanistan. The Australian Reconstruction Task Force forms part of a Dutch-led Provincial Reconstruction Team.

The problem has been the Dutch intention to pull out of Afghanistan. The Dutch contribution to the war, around 1,950 troops, is larger than ours but the important point is that Australia cannot be a lead nation. Australia is not part of NATO, so NATO will not share intelligence with us, refuses to allow us to participate in discussions, and does not allow us to control their troops. Therefore, we need to work under a NATO country. Luxembourg would do but no NATO lead, no Australian contribution.

We lobbied hard about this, and it appeared that the Dutch had agreed to stay for another year. No one here thought that would be a big deal. Now the headlines read: Dutch government falls over Afghan mission, throwing everything into doubt.

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
kerravonsen
21st Feb, 2010 21:56 (UTC)
Ouch.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )