Afghanistan: North Atlantic Military Bloc’s Ten-Year War In South Asia

Published on Stop NATO, by Rick Rozoff, August 31, 2010.

In slightly over a month, on October 7, the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan will enter its tenth year.

The conflict represents the longest continuous combat operations in the history of the United States and Afghanistan alike. With the North Atlantic Treaty Organization for the only time in its existence activating its Article 5 mutual military assistance clause in September 2001 and thus entering the Afghan fray, European nations that had not been at war since the Second World War are now engaged in an endless combat mission. 

There are 150,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan, 120,000 of them under the command of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). Military personnel from over a quarter of the 192 members of the United Nations.

They include soldiers from almost every European country, several Asia-Pacific states, and nations in the Americas and the Middle East … //

… On August 24 Australia – a NATO Contact Country partner along with Japan, New Zealand and South Korea – lost its 41st soldier in Afghanistan. With 1,550 troops in the country, Australia is the largest non-NATO contributor.

On the same day Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, announced that Australian troops will stay in Afghanistan beyond 2014: “We will still be there…beyond the two to four years [scheduled for training Afghan army units], for a period of time.” [18]

Last week Singapore deployed a 52-troop Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Task Group to southern Afghanistan, which “will operate out of Multinational Base Tarin Kowt to augment the International Security Assistance Force’s (ISAF’s) surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities in Uruzgan….” [19]

NATO’s role in Asia is not limited to 120,000 troops in Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. It is steadily deepening military partnerships with an expanding array of Asia-Pacific nations.

It is also consolidating its grip on the three former Soviet republics in the South Caucasus: Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, all of which have troops serving under the Alliance in Afghanistan.

The Ministry of Transport of Caspian Sea nation Azerbaijan announced earlier this month that “NATO is expected to increase shipping to Afghanistan via Georgia and Azerbaijan,” in particular that “A part of the equipment [of] the troops withdrawn from Iraq…will be sent to Afghanistan via Turkey, Azerbaijan, the Caspian Sea and Turkmenistan.” An Azerbaijani government official estimated that “NATO countries transport 1,500 containers to Afghanistan via Azerbaijan every month.” [20]

In October NATO will conduct a regional training course on border security in Azerbaijan for Central Asian and other countries. According to a news source in Azerbaijan, currently “training is carried out with the involvement of Iraqi and Afghan border guards…at the State Border Service’s base.” [21]

The war in Afghanistan provides long-range integrated combat training for global NATO and a foundation for the U.S. to build a far-reaching military network unprecedented in scope. (full long text).

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