Afghanistan: German Peacekeepers May Leave if US War with Iraq Erupts

German Defense Minister Peter Struck told reporters Friday that civilians and German peacekeeping troops serving in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) might evacuate Afghanistan should a US-led war with Iraq erupt. A German government report warned that Western security and aid groups will face increasing hostilities from Afghan forces harboring anti-Western sentiments that will be amplified by the war with Iraq, according to the Associated Press. “The presence of the [Afghan] government’s sizeable military potentials, drawn mainly from the Northern Alliance (about 10,000 men), pose an underlying security risk,” the report stated. Earlier this month, Germany and Netherlands, assumed leadership of the 22-nation, 4,800-member ISAF.

Meanwhile, US officials insist that aid operations in Afghanistan will not suffer on account of war with Iraq. “The United States is capable of doing more than one thing at a time,” explained Zalmay Khalilzad, special envoy to Afghanistan for President Bush, according to the Christian Science Monitor. Still, critics like UN special representative and former foreign minister of Algeria Lakhdar Brahimi argue, “There are only 24 hours in a dayÉIf you are forced to spend 20 hours on Iraq, then clearly you are not going to have much time on anything else, however much you would like to,” reported the New York Times.

TAKE ACTION Urge Congress to Appropriate Funds for Expanded Peace Troops, Women’s Programs and Reconstruction in Afghanistan


NY Times 2/24/03; Christian Science Monitor 2/20/03; Associated Press 2/21/03, 2/23/03; BBC 2/21/03

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