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January 27, 2009

Why We Don't Have More Muslim Troops In Afghanistan
Posted by The Editors

This post is by NSN intern Luis Vertiz

While reading a blog post on the “Room for Debate/NY Times” blog re: Afghanistan, I came across this nugget of a quote from Bruce Riedel:

We should seek more troops from our NATO allies but also from Muslim allies like Morocco and Indonesia that have a common interest in defeating Al Qaeda. It can be done; already the United Arab Emirates has a few hundred troops in Afghanistan.

The BBC reported last year that the UAE and Jordan have troops in Afghanistan. Turkey also has a sizeable contingent of troops in Afghanistan. For the UAE, they are not only contributing troops, they are engaging in a full spectrum of missions, including combat missions. This seems like a blessing that should have been widely shared a model for emulation. But, seven years later, it hasn’t. Why? The lack of a serious presence of troops from Muslim nations draws questions which need to be mulled, such as:    

I.          What is the experience of Muslim nations with regard to peacekeeping or peace enforcement missions? What is their current troop commitment to other peacekeeping or peace enforcement missions?

II.         What political reasons inhibit/prohibit Muslim nations from sending their troops to help with foreign stability operations, considering the major criticism on the Arab street is the presence of Western, non-Muslim troops stationed within countries in the Middle East [Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan]?

III.       Would the presence of Muslim troops in Muslims necessarily be helpful to the mission in Iraq or Afghanistan? What would be possible political drawbacks?

The UAE has 50,500 active duty personnel in their armed forces. Out of this, 1,300 UAE troops are in Afghanistan, accounting for approximately 2.5% of the UAE’s armed forces.  That level of troop commitment is on par to that to the United States’ current commitment of 2.3% of active duty troops in currently deployed in Afghanistan. Thus, we are in a difficult position to ask others other shoulder a great amount of risk in America’s “good war”. Politically, the United States might be in a better position to ask other nations to increase their troop commitments if an additional 30,000 US troops are deployed to the Afghan theater.

Mr. Riedel’s recommendation would be stronger if he tied action against Al-Qaeda central to Al-Qaeda franchises popping up in various niches within the Muslim Diaspora. Countries like Morocco and Indonesia have pursued a policy of continuing operations against Islamic insurgents within their homeland. But despite the operational connections between Al-Qaeda HQ and their franchises, it appears, for now, that it is easier for the US’ Muslim allies to deal with Al-Qaeda as a domestic law enforcement issue rather than a foreign policy issue. Therefore, the United States needs to make the case, with demonstrable intelligence, to our Muslim allies that dealing with Al-Qaeda is in their national security interest, not just because military action has political or moral importance. Without this particular line of argument, it is a dubious to hope that our Muslim allies would lend credibility or operational capability to an American mission that have narrow support in the Arab and Muslim street.

Turkey is the other major Muslim country with troops deployed in Afghanistan. Starting with 90 Special Forces soldiers and augmenting their total to 1,300, Turkey’s troops are relegated to a humanitarian and reconstruction mission. Thus, it is important to note Muslim countries are not immune to the national caveats that are proving such a difficult obstacle when coordinating military operations between the US and its NATO allies.

To put Mr. Riedel’s recommendation into action, there needs to be serious consideration of the reasons why Muslim nations have been hesitant to provide additional troops to the Afghan mission in order for the United States to better address the concerns of our allies.


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Having muslim troops in Afghanistan would be a violation of international law.

NATO forces were brought into Afghanistan on false pretenses by the same people that sold much of the world the WMD lie in IRAQ. The same people that claimed that 19 religious lunatics who were hanging out in bars with stippers took control of planes, forced NORAD to stand down and then crashed these planes into buildings.

The lies and inconsistencies that were sold as a package of goods linking the fictional organization aka "ALQUIDA" with the 911 attacks and the Taliban are extensive enough to fill a book.

Time will show that Chenney not only lied about the WMDS, but assisted the Israeli's in selling the invasion of Afghanistan.

Invading and continuing to murder innocent people in Afghanistan is a war crime. Sending more muslim troops to the region to continue this war crime would just be a way of exacerbating an already incredibly psychotic action orchestrated by the terrorist sponsering apartheid theocracy of Israel and the zionist traitors within both the Democratic and Republican parties in the Congress.

End all welfare to apartheid Israel and lets help some real Americans like Ron Paul and Cynthia McKinney gain some power.

America should represent American interests. We have not had an honest president since Jimmy Carter. I would love to think that Obama was an honest man, but I know too many of his handlers.

Having more Muslim troops in Afghanistan does not sound like a good idea. Indeed, sending more troops to Afghanistan is not a good idea at all. Even if they are deployed, they would not take on combat duties.

there needs to be serious consideration of the reasons why Muslim nations have been hesitant to provide additional troops to the Afghan mission in order for the United States to better address the concerns of our allies.

Consider this: The military occupation of Afghanistan is primarily a US operation, and the US is extremely unpopular in the world, particularly in Muslim countries, primarily because the Afghanistan military occupation is primarily a US operation.

from a recent poll:
Global distrust of American leadership is reflected in increasing disapproval of the cornerstones of U.S. foreign policy. Not only is there worldwide support for a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, but there also is considerable opposition to U.S. and NATO operations in Afghanistan. . . .The U.S. image remains abysmal in most Muslim countries in the Middle East and Asia, and continues to decline among the publics of many of America's oldest allies. Favorable views of the U.S. are in single digits in Turkey (9%) and have declined to 15% in Pakistan. . . .However, opinions of the American people have declined over the past five years in 23 of 33 countries where trends are available. In Indonesia and Turkey, where favorable views of the U.S. have declined markedly over the past five years, opinions of Americans have fallen sharply as well. In Indonesia, positive opinions of Americans have fallen from 65% in 2002 to 42%; in Turkey, favorable opinions have declined 19 points.

Pew Global Attitudes Survey
June 27, 2007

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In October 2008, Ekstra Bladet published excerpts from an interview with Taliban spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi saying Danish troops in Oruzgan Province are a "primary target" of the Taliban because of the cartoon issue, adding the Danes would be forced to leave Afghanistan.

Until the U.S. knows who Karzai really is, put a hold on all troops....troops stop protecting chinese industries in afghanistan, then china will stop lending the u.s. government money.

Consider this: The military occupation of Afghanistan is primarily a US operation, and the US is extremely unpopular in the world, particularly in Muslim countries, primarily because the Afghanistan military occupation is primarily a US operation

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Great article, but some formatting wouldn't hurt for reading pleasure;-)

I think things will get better in the future, and we'll see more muslim troops over there. Just think positive:-)

Great post. We have missed the old gang. How have you been?

I wish the troops the best of luck with their campaigns over there. I am sure they need it:-)

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