February 21, 2002



You'll already no doubt have read Mark Steyn's latest, which I love for all kind of reasons... even if I anticipated his comments on Steven Glover somewhat with this post. As I've said, though, he's a much better writer than I am.

In it, Steyn lists the countries involved on the ground in Afghanistan. He just lists the English-speaking countries to make a point, but he's not far off. Here's the full list, in case you're curious, as of this week (numbers where given are actual boots on Afghan soil, not theatre-area deployments, naval warships, and the like):

Special Forces operations: United States (2,500-plus), Britain (1 SAS squadron), Australia (150), Canada (40), New Zealand (30);
Demining task force: United States, Britain, Norway, Jordan (numbers not available);
Kandahar main body ("Task Force Rakkasan"): United States (1,600-plus; a battalion-plus of the 101st Airborne), Canada (750; one small battle group).

There is also the UN-mandated soccer players of the International Security Assistance Force in Kabul, which to date consists of troops from:
Major contributors (battalion- or larger strength): Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Spain;
Minor contributors (company-size or smaller): Austria, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Sweden.

(Hmm... wonder where the Belgians are... -ed.) There are also those persistent rumours of large numbers of Russian advisers working with the Northern Alliance, of course.

None of this detracts from Steyn's point in the slightest ( the Special Forces at the pointy end are, in fact, all English speaking): just wanted to be thorough.

Posted by BruceR at 03:00 PM