LondonNet News Headlines
|British Troops Ready and Waiting
- Thousands of soldiers on 48-hour notice to head for Afghanistan
BRITISH troops are on 48-hour standby to fly to Afghanistan as part of the international effort to fill what is being called a 'power vacuum' following the collapse of Taliban rule in most of the country.
In fact, there is no 'vacuum', but rather the swift transfer of power to the Northern Alliance. Already, authorities in Pakistan have reacted strongly against the Northern Alliance's take-over of Kabul and the western powers view with suspicion the motives of a force which has virtually no support among the dominant Pashtun community, the group from whose ranks the Taliban emerged.
Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon was careful to say that he did not see the possible British troop deployment as a peacekeeping effort, more as one of "stabilisation," which is probable code for a force which would prevent the Northern Alliance from taking complete administrative control of Afghanistan.
Hoon said that 4,000 British troops could be used, in tandem with soldiers from the US and other countries. "They will give the locals confidence and create the right conditions to allow the humanitarian agencies to do their work," said a Ministry of Defence spokesperson.
In the longer run, a UN peacekeeping force made up of troops from Muslim countries, such as Turkey, Pakistan and Bangladesh, is seen as the most likely option.