Saturday, 15 November 2008

Afghanistan: “It’s still winnable, but only just.”

David Kilcullen interviewed by George Packer of The New Yorker.

From January it’s Obama’s war. Not the time to run, or break promises, but time to commit to victory.

Of personal interest: Denmark also has forces in Afghanistan, about 650 soldiers. In the last six months public support for the deployment has dropped from 53% to 46%.

Denmark’s four helicopters are coming home from Afghanistan this month for a two year break. Because the helicopters are not armoured and have to fly high, and are not powerful enough for heavier equipment, their infrared cameras are only half as effective as those used by British forces.

Earlier this year Danish Defence Ministry officials turned down a NATO request to send fighter jets to Afghanistan, without informing the Danish Defence Minister of the request. Danish forces in Afghanistan are unable to get air support on dangerous patrols in 30 to 40 percent of cases, according to First Lieutenant and Forward Air Controller Kenn Christensen.

I was born in NATO member Denmark, but my family moved to neutral Ireland when I was three and I have dual citizenship. At age 19 I  lived for a while in Denmark, and was eligible for national service, but got myself excused as I had grown up in Ireland.

This was 1986, in the last years of the Cold War. At the time I felt more Irish than Danish, and I believed neutrality was a good thing. On that last point I was very wrong. There is nothing good in neutrality when faced with evil. I can’t help regretting the path not taken.

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