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Old 07-31-2006, 01:40 AM
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Default British general takes command of US troops

British general takes command of US troops
By Ahmed Rashid in Lahore


(Filed: 31/07/2006)

A British general will command American troops for the first time since the Second World War when Nato takes charge of the mission to pacify southern Afghanistan today.
Lt Gen David Richards, Britain's most experienced officer in developing world arenas, assumes control of a merged Nato and US force that will grow from 9,000 to 18,000.
It is one of the largest and toughest missions the alliance has faced, covering six southern provinces and extending its authority to almost all of the country. At a press conference in Kabul on Saturday, Gen Richards promised that Nato will bring a new strategy to the fight.
Instead of chasing down the Taliban, Nato forces will garrison key towns and villages. It wants to bolster the weak government of President Hamid Karzai and win the support of local people by promoting much-needed development.
The general said he hoped there will be "secure zones" in the volatile south in three to six months.
The direct approach pursued under American command, particularly by British troops, has claimed the lives of some 700 Afghan fighters - more than a third of them Taliban - and 19 western troops including six British soldiers.
US-led coalition forces and Afghan police killed 20 suspected Taliban on Saturday following an attempted ambush in the Shahidi Hassas district of Uruzgan province.
Since the Americans launched Operation Thrust two months ago, Allied forces have been surprised by the ferocity of the Taliban counter-offensive, while there is growing evidence that more Afghan tribesmen, disillusioned with the lack of jobs and reconstruction and a corrupt government, are supporting the rebels.
Gen Richards emphasised that the opium trade was to blame for a major part of Afghanistan's violence. "That very evil trade is being threatened by the Nato expansion in the south," he said.
"This is a very noble cause we're engaged in and we have to liberate the people from the scourge of those warlords." It is unclear to what degree leading drug runners will be targeted.
Nato will control security in 75 per cent of the country - in the west, north and south - while the US-led coalition still leads the fight in the eastern provinces along the border with Pakistan.
In the south, the force will comprise mainly British - there are already 4,300 UK soldiers - Dutch and Canadians.
Nato will also command 13 Provincial Reconstruction Teams and take on more responsibility from the Americans for training the Afghan National Army and police.
Francesc Vendrell, the European Union representative in Kabul, told The Daily Telegraph: "The European countries will need to face the fact that sending forces to the south is going to be dangerous and I am convinced they are ready to take losses, although we want to minimize them."
Tom Koenigs, the head of the UN mission, told the UN Security Council last week that 2,000 Afghans had been killed this year and there were 54 suicide bombings carried out by extremists.
These were unknown in the country until January, when they were introduced after Taliban and al-Qa'eda received training in Iraq.
"The violence is four times what it was in 2005. . . at no time since the fall of the Taliban have the prospects for security been more bleak," said Mr Koenigs.
Nato also has to deal with the sensitive issue of Pakistan's support for the Taliban. Mr Koenigs told the UN that "the cross-border character of this insurgency is no longer a matter of debate".
There is also the danger that just as the Iraq war distracted the West from giving more money and troops to Afghanistan after the defeat of the Taliban in 2001, the crisis in Lebanon will have the same effect.
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Old 07-31-2006, 01:44 AM
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Interesting to see how that one works out!! From what I understand the Yanks were not too impressed with a non American in command over them in WW2, wonder if the position has changed with a new generation??...
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Old 07-31-2006, 01:46 AM
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A very rare occurance when US troops are put under a foreign officers command .Would they have accepted an Italian or German? ..... I wonder
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Old 07-31-2006, 06:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Texas
A very rare occurance when US troops are put under a foreign officers command .Would they have accepted an Italian or German? ..... I wonder
Good question Tex, but I think the answer would be no. Not cos of history or anything like that, I would see a major manpower contributor amoungst the Allies getting a General into a CO position of troops from the foremost contributor to the coalition. Its the way that the politics around this issue has evolved since WW1.
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Old 07-31-2006, 01:48 PM
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Default Hans speidel

Just to help the conversation along alittle . It maybe of some interest to our American members that Erwin Rommels 2nd in commmand during the Normandy landings 1944 .Was a man by the name of General Hans Spiedel .The same man became NATO Commander-in-Chief of the Allied ground forces in Central Europe from April 1957 to September 1963.
So there you go . The structure of NATO allows a man with the experience and talent to Command regardless of nationality . Thank god NATO has common sense!

[url]http://www.answers.com/topic/hans-speidel[/url]
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Old 07-31-2006, 02:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas
Just to help the conversation along alittle . It maybe of some interest to our American members that Erwin Rommels 2nd in commmand during the Normandy landings 1944 .Was a man by the name of General Hans Spiedel .The same man became NATO Commander-in-Chief of the Allied ground forces in Central Europe from April 1957 to September 1963.
So there you go . The structure of NATO allows a man with the experience and talent to Command regardless of nationality . Thank god NATO has common sense!

[url]http://www.answers.com/topic/hans-speidel[/url]
Didnt know that, but it certainly sounds like the man was talented in a military sense!! I would say this war time conduct was put through a magnifine glass by the Allies... He must have being squeeky clean as a Soldier and Commander. Pity he was on the wrong side in WW2 and its a pity Rommel didnt succeed in blowing Hitler up, it would have saved alot of lives in the closing months of the war.
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Old 07-31-2006, 03:31 PM
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Quote:
Didnt know that
Us Lancastrians are a minefield of useless information you know !
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Last edited by Texas; 07-31-2006 at 03:33 PM..
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Old 08-04-2006, 12:27 PM
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There a go, the real Oracle of knowledge is in the house!!
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