June 15, 2007Foreign AffairsSecurity

India in a little, NATO looking for a way out

400 Indian commandos in Afghanistan. No relief for NATO, though

This is an archived blog post from The Acorn.

Last May, after the Taliban brutally murdered an Indian telecommunications engineer working on reconstruction projects in Afghanistan, this blog had repeated its call for India to strengthen its troop levels that country

Here’s what it should do — in addition to increasing the strength of regular army/paramilitary forces securing Indian projects, facilities and development workers, it should station special force units in key locations in Afghanistan. Their command post must be located in Kabul or Jalalabad, not New Delhi. India must speak to the Taliban in the language they understand. The para commandos, for example, speak that language very well.

Well, now, over a year later, the Indian government has decided to do something like that.

India is doubling its deployment of highly trained commandos to combat the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan.

The commandos, from the crack Indo-Tibetan Border Police force that specialises in high-altitude operations in the Himalayas, are being sent to guard about 300 Indian road builders working on the 218km Zaranj-Delaram highway, which will connect Afghanistan’s second city, Kandahar, with the Iranian border.

The highway, part of an Indian aid project, traverses the heart of the Taliban badlands and engineers working on the project have been the target of frequent attacks.

The new deployment meant almost 400 commandos would be in the area to combat Taliban attempts to halt construction of the highway, Indian news agency PTI reported.

The move suggests New Delhi is prepared to take on a more significant role in security operations against the Taliban within Afghanistan, something leading members of the NATO-led coalition in Afghanistan have been urging for some time. [Bruce Loudon/The Australian]It’s nice to know that the Indian government finally decided to put some muscle into its Afghanistan policy. And it’s not exactly surprising that leading members of the NATO-led coalition are just too eager to cop out. Europeans, especially, do take leadership’ in international security matters, like for instance, the French after the Israel-Hezbollah war. They’ll just send a general and perhaps, an air-conditioned tent for his field headquarters, (which probably won’t be pitched anyway for he’ll choose to stay at a safe distance).

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