Author Topic: UK Opposition: Can't Send Troops to AFG? Send Bucks, Then!  (Read 1044 times)

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Call for Nato help with Army costs
Press Association (UK), 4 Mar 07
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The UK's Nato allies should help pay for operations in Afghanistan even if they refuse to commit troops, shadow defence secretary Liam Fox has said.

Countries including France and Germany have been criticised for refusing to send forces to the dangerous south of Afghanistan. Last week, Defence Secretary Des Browne announced an extra 1,400 additional troops will be sent to Afghanistan, taking the total British presence in the country to around 7,700.

The projected cost of operations in Afghanistan for 2006/07 is £770 million, the highest since troops were first sent there in 2001.

Dr Fox said there was a "real risk" to the future of Nato because just four countries from the 26-nation alliance were bearing the brunt of the fighting.

He told BBC One's Sunday AM: "Part of the problem is it's not just the British but the Americans, the Canadians and the Dutch who are carrying the burden of the fighting in the south of Afghanistan.

"But, worse than that, they are also carrying the financial burden because in Nato operations when you carry out the operation itself you also pay for it.

"There's no cost-sharing so that countries like Germany, where there's a conscript army and where they don't want to send their troops in to fight - which might be understandable - they don't make any increased compensation for that by financial contributions.

"The problem here is we are trying to fight 21st-century problems with 1945 structures. We need to update that and, specifically, the link between fighting and funding needs to be broken."

Dr Fox also said the military should buy in more equipment from abroad rather than develop its own costly alternatives - a move which would anger thousands employed in the arms industry.

He said: "I think we spend too long in this country pretending that we can afford a bespoke military when actually we require a lot more off the shelf."


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