Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Nato head Jaap De Hoop Scheffer reminds the UK that our losses in Afghanistan must be seen in a European context

Nato General Secretary Jaap De Hoop Scheffer from Holland congratulated the UK yesterday for being a "team" player in the war in Afghanistan. He also remarked that Britain's losses should be seen as part of the "shared sacrifice" being made in the war against the Taliban.

He said: "If one reads any national press, you could be forgiven for thinking that your forces were fighting in Afghanistan alone. But they are not. They are part of a team...... Fourteen nations are fighting in the south of Afghanistan, alongside their British colleagues, along with Afghan forces. Hundreds of Nato soldiers from other countries have also lost their lives - which is a sad, but real, measure of shared sacrifice. The United States has lost 747 soldiers, the most of any nation, followed by Britain 187, then Canada 125, Germany 35, France 28 and Denmark and Italy 25."

However, what Mr De Hoop Scheffer chose not to point out is that the disproportionately high sacrifice being made by the US, Canadian and British Allies is happening because they are the ones who are prepared to take the fight to the Taliban and are consequently bearing the brunt of the fighting and of the losses.

President Obama and Prime Ministers Harper and Brown have repeatedly been pleading with other Nato-Euro countries to "step up to the plate". One wonders whether Mr De Hoop Scheffer has been asking his European friends to play a fuller part in the team that is fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan.

The Mail: British bomb disposal expert dies in Afghanistan as Nato boss says UK is making a 'shared sacrifice'