April 3, 2008
A central issue of the ongoing Bucharest NATO summit is to find more commitments for the biggest ever military action of the alliance outside the transatlantic: the Afghanistani peacekeeping and counter-insurgency operations. It was widely quoted that our North-American allies are unhappy with the European commitment on this common mission. It turns out, that the European presence is just relatively small.
The FP Passport recalculates the number of current troops compared to each NATO member countries military age population. The result is striking: Denmark stations 55 out of 10.000 military age citizens in Afghanistan and it has the highest relative death toll, too. (Estonia also has a dramatic casualty rate). The top five contributors relative to population are Denmark, Britain, Norway, the Netherlands and the US, in this order.
The Afghanistani military mission has two huge problems from the military point of view, beside other considerations: it has no enough troops and equipment, and the presence of some European armies is hardly more than symbolic because they are forbidden to take part in any operations necessary. The FP Passport numbers show another big divide within Europe: it is European NATO allies who share the biggest and the smallest part of the burden in Afghanistan. The attitudes of the European countries towards NATO or common defence is far from united.Author : Dániel Antal