What is state failure? See my conceptualisation of state failure on the right flank below.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Hungary to send troops to Uruzgan

Along with some other countries. That's the major development out of the informal ministerial meeting in Noordwijk (and the long preceding discussions over the previous weeks) of NATO and NATO partner countries yesterday. France will send some 80 to 100 troops, that's also news. Georgia and Slovakia, this is not news any more, would also give a substantial number of troops (although the Netherlands haven't yet assessed whether they would welcome Georgia's contribution in particular). There are negotiations going on with Norway, with Bulgaria and the Czech Republic. And so far there are plans for about 50 Hungarian soldiers to be sent to Uruzgan. (Concerning the Hungarian troops, this might be officially announced today.)
These troop contributions are quite significant for they make it essentially a foregone conclusion that the Netherlands will remain the lead nation in Uruzgan for now, even despite activists' campaigning against it, despite the ongoing, rather naive debate that recently flared up again about whether Dutch PzH 2000 howitzers used in the "Chora war" back in June killed too many civilians (to be clear, one civilian casualty is too many, but avoiding such casualties is not really possible all the time - the alternative here was to give up an ink blot area; that's why I found it odd when ISAF Commander General McNeill publicly criticised the Netherlands for not having had forward observers in the target area), and despite the military costs, which, notably with the extension in mind, Volkskrant now estimates to end up at over 1.75 billion euros. On the latter issue: I'd say it could easily be 2 billion, on the basis of the figures included in the article, especially if some of the new contributors aren't ready to cover all the costs of their mission, which unfortunately might be the case.
I'll finish with a picture of Chora Valley, the scene of major fighting action in June, and a place where more troops are always useful. (Source of the picture.)

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