France mulls early pullout, suspends Afghan training.

Coyote

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http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/World/20120120/10-nato-troops-killed-afghanistan-120120/#ixzz1k2PcJUYM

KABUL, Afghanistan — France suspended its training operations in Afghanistan and threatened to withdraw its entire force from the country early after an Afghan soldier shot and killed four French troops Friday and wounded 15 others.

The shooting -- the second such attack in a month -- came during a particularly deadly 24 hours for the international military coalition. Six U.S. Marines also died in a helicopter crash late Thursday.

It was the latest in a series of attacks by members of the Afghan security forces or infiltrators in disguise against coalition partners that have raised fears of increased Taliban infiltration of the Afghan police and army as foreign combat forces prepare to withdraw from the country by 2014. The impact of the French suspending training operations is unclear, but it would result in a major setback for the U.S.-led coalition if other troop-contributing nations stopped training Afghan national security forces or decided to pull out earlier than planned.

French officials said the Afghan soldier opened fire with an unspecified automatic weapon shortly after unarmed French soldiers had finished physical training exercises. French military spokesman Col. Thierry Burkhard said the soldier appeared to have had authorization to enter Forward Operating Base in Gwan in Tagab district of Kapisa province. Three quarters of the 600 soldiers on the base are Afghan and the rest are French, Burkhard said.

President Nicolas Sarkozy announced the French deaths in Paris and the suspension of training programs. He did not specify how many French forces or which programs would be affected.
"The French army is in Afghanistan at the service of the Afghans against terrorism and against the Taliban. The French army is not in Afghanistan so that Afghan soldiers can shoot at them," Sarkozy said. He added that if security for troops is not restored, "then the question of an early withdrawal of the French army would arise."

Defence Minister Gerard Longuet said the French soldiers were unarmed when the attacker opened fire during a very difficult training exercise at high altitude. French military officials said 15 other French soldiers were injured.

"We don't know at the moment whether it's a Taliban member who infiltrated, or someone who decided (to attack) for reasons that we don't know," Longuet said on France-2 television.
He said the Afghan was in custody of the Afghan army's 3rd brigade, held by a general "whom we trust."

A Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, praised the Afghan attacker but did not claim he was an infiltrator or provide other details. Afghan President Hamid Karzai expressed deep regret over the attack. Afghan Ministry of Defence spokesman Gen. Mohammad Zahir Azimi said the ministry had sent a delegation to the area to investigate the shooting, he said. He said the attacker was arrested and was being questioned.

Friday was among the most deadly days for French forces in the 10 years they have been serving in the international force in Afghanistan. The latest deaths bring to 82 the number of French troops killed in the Afghan campaign. "From now on, all the operations of training and combat help by the French army are suspended," Sarkozy said.

The defence minister and the chief of staff of the French army are heading Friday to Kabul. Once they report back, Sarkozy said, the French government will decide how to proceed.
A big part of the French role in Afghanistan recently has been training Afghan troops and police ahead of an expected pullout of the around 3,600 French troops currently there in 2014.
Unpopular at home, Sarkozy is facing a potentially tough re-election campaign for elections in April and May and appeared determined Friday to act swiftly and sternly to the latest troop deaths.
The candidate who tops opinion polls ahead of France's elections, Socialist Francois Hollande, said in a statement Friday that he would aim to pull out French forces by the end of this year if he becomes president.

Friday's attack was all the more painful for the French because it came just weeks after an Afghan army soldier shot and killed two members of the French Foreign Legion serving in the NATO force on Dec. 29. French forces fired back and killed the assailant.It remained unclear how likely or swift a French pullout could be. France has the fourth-largest force in the international coalition.

"Today there is clearly a new truth. It is not the first time that an Afghan soldier ... assassinates French soldiers," Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said. He called it a question of "responsibility to adapt our timetable for withdrawal by taking into account these new circumstances."
Longuet was more cautious, saying French officials should maintain calm when making any decisions.

Sarkozy said he'd discuss France's role in Afghanistan with Karzai when he visits Paris next week.
Thoughts?
 

AWP

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I'm conflicted to be honest. On one hand, I don't blame the French though I can see the political upside at home for them doing this. On the other, if an army cut and ran over setbacks what language would we all speak? Latin? Mongolian? Persian?

The sad reality is that there isn't much we can do about this kind of threat.
 

AWP

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It's just the French doing the classic French thing to do.

On the whole, they've done well here I think. They've seen more combat than the Germans, Italians, or Norwegians. They've seen about as much as the Dutch, give or take, and probably more than the Polish. They've had some setbacks down south back in...05 or so, and were punted from the CAOC some years back, but their aviators aren't total "lets kill some Coalition pilots" d-bags like the Dutch and Norwegians. Logistically, their footprint isn't huge like some other coalition nations out here.

I think they've acquited themselves well.
 

Marauder06

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...

I think they've acquited themselves well.

... and now they just want to quit ;)

I think this is a weak excuse to pull out. "Provide perfect security for our troops or we'll bring them home." Wow. I wonder what nation's troops the HQN will now start to target?
 

Coyote

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I agree with you FF on how they would want to pull out because of the BS, but I'm more on Mara's side for it being a weak excuse. It doesn't take Einstein to know that when you're in a war zone it is never going to be 100% safe, regardless if it's training. They shouldn't act surprised because they've taken casualties, they've been in the war for a decade now.
 

AWP

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I understand the why behind it, I don't agree with it. Sarkozy's also in an election year and it is either him or a straight-up Socialist. Sarkozy's in a bad position at home and needs to pick up some votes. They also said they were suspending operations instead of throwing up their deuces with a "ba-de, ba-de,ba-de, that's all folks!"

I don't think they are going anywhere and IF they did it would be a token amount for the folks back home, kind of like giving up a hostage. I see them threatening Karzai over this, "One more such incident and we'll leave/ withdraw funds for Afghanistan/ whatever" or maybe even a "We aren't sticking around until 2014" from Sarkozy to buy more votes.

In doing so, they bolster the ACMs. This will be a real shot in the arm for the TB/ HQN if they could force some concessions from the French; it sets a bad precedent. The only good news in that scenario is the ACMs don't have any real leadership or cohesive plan beyond "kill whitey and his Afghan lapdogs" so it spreading to other nations is possible, but wouldn't be wide-reaching.

Unless it escalates, this is just a speed bump on Hell's Highway.
 

DA SWO

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Maybe this is the wakeup call Kharzi needs. What would be happening if the results were reversed? Kharzi would be wagging his crooked fingers in some Generals nose and demanding we do a better job in keeping his Police/Soldiers safe.

It's politics, but some one has to tell that Afghan crook to do better, why not the French?
 

Marauder06

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I'm beginning to dislike Karzai a little less. The writing is on the wall, we're deserting him (his opinion) in 2014, and he's going to be left with a whole lot of enemies unless he does something, and that something is to make a lot of noise about how bad the "occupiers" are and to cozy up to Pakistan, so maybe they don't kill him (immediately) the instant we pull out. I don't like it, and I don't like him, but I kind of get what he's doing.
 

AWP

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If Karzai wanted to make a difference he'd start with his cabinet.

The sad thing is, being a landlocked country, he needs an ally who has a port

Pakistan's going this war by virtue of geography. That truly breaks my heart.
 

JohnnyBoyUSMC

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The regional politics of that area is just one big mess. Pakistan doing their thing to have a somewhat easy neighbor to deal with and a fall back in the event they loose a war with India, Iran not wanting to see another US friendly government on its border, the Taliban brand of Islam spreading and gaining popularity in parts of the region, not to mention the Taliban starting up their own political office, and the complete insanity/corruption that is afghani internal politics. France pulling out due to political BS isn't gonna make things easier.

On a side note, as a former Marine I wanna pimp slap all those idiots that made that urinating video. Not only is it just stupid to do that in general let alone video tape it, it's NOT how a professional let alone a US Marine acts. Hope all those idiots get what's coming to em.
 

Marauder06

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I'm not sure that Pakistan sees Afghanistan as a place to fall back to when the Indians invade. If they lose that much territory, all they'd be left with is a backward, landlocked, piece-of-crap country with no political, economic, diplomatic, or military infrastructure and a whole bunch of folks who historically don't like the Paks very much. Pakistan does look to Afghanistan for "strategic depth," but I'm not sure that means in terms of territory. Pakistan already lost about half of its original territory when Bangladesh said "peace out," I don't think the Pakistanis would see giving up vast swathes of territory as a viable strategic plan.

But I could be wrong.
 

JohnnyBoyUSMC

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I'm not sure that Pakistan sees Afghanistan as a place to fall back to when the Indians invade. If they lose that much territory, all they'd be left with is a backward, landlocked, piece-of-crap country with no political, economic, diplomatic, or military infrastructure and a whole bunch of folks who historically don't like the Paks very much. Pakistan does look to Afghanistan for "strategic depth," but I'm not sure that means in terms of territory. Pakistan already lost about half of its original territory when Bangladesh said "peace out," I don't think the Pakistanis would see giving up vast swathes of territory as a viable strategic plan.

But I could be wrong.

From what i've read in a few publications, it's not like they would be using it as a "well this is the new Pakistan folks!", more as a strategic fall back to regroup/go on the offensive against India in the event a war with them went really badly for them. Afghan has been part of Pakistan's regional strategic/economical plans since the 80's. After all Pakistan is the only other country aside from Saudi Arabia that recognized the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan in the 90's, though it would seem their state support of using terrorism as a means of statecraft is starting to come back and bite em in the ass.
 

CDG

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After all Pakistan is the only other country aside from Saudi Arabia that recognized the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan in the 90's, though it would seem their state support of using terrorism as a means of statecraft is starting to come back and bite em in the ass.

Actually, the UAE also formally recognized the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan. And while we did not officially recognize them, seemingly mostly because Bill didn't want to piss Hillary and Madeleine off, we did nothing to stop them either. A certain Edmund Burke quote comes to mind......
 
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