Home > Asia-Pacific, Conflict & Security, Politics > Afghan Rifts; Guns For Hire

Afghan Rifts; Guns For Hire

Conn Hallinan writes in ZNet:

The rising tide of Afghan civilian deaths has opened a rift between the U.S. and NATO’s 37,000-member International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). According to NATO officials, the U.S.’s increasing use of air power has badly damaged support for the war in both Afghanistan and Europe.

Daan Everts, the senior NATO civilian in Afghanistan, says the U.S. has created ‘a fallout that is negative because the collateral damage and particularly the civilian casualties are seen as unduly high, certainly by the Afghan people. This is of concern to us.’

German Defense Minister Franz Joseph Jung said, ‘We have to do everything to avoid that civilians are affected. We are in talks with our American friends about this.’

The issue has split German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ‘Grand Coalition.’ While Merkel’s Christian Democrats generally support the war, their coalition partner, the Social Democratic Party (SDP), is suddenly feeling pressure on its portside from the newly formed united Left Party. SDP leaders have come out against renewing the current mandate to deploy German troops in Afghanistan, a vote that will come sometime this fall.

The rising tide of Afghan civilian deaths-over 1,800 killed in 2007-has helped fuel a push for United Nations participation to end the conflict. Leading the drive is British Secretary of Defense, Des Browne.

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