Afghanistan

Too fat to fight

It’s all becoming clear. German troops in Afghanistan won’t fly at night, won’t send troops to help Nato in the volatile south, and are apparently “too fat to fight”. According to The Times today official reports say that the 3,500 troops in northern Afghanistan drink too much and are too fat.

A German parliamentary report has revealed that in 2007 German forces in Afghanistan consumed about 1.7 million pints of beer (485 pints per man) and 90,000 bottles of wine (25 per man). Blimey they’re a bunch of alcoholics. Sounds like life in Kabul for German troops is one big slap my thigh and pour me another.

In comparison British and US bases in the country enforce a strict ban on alcohol. The report also found that 40 per cent of German soldiers aged 18-29 were overweight – more than the civilian population (35 per cent) .

When Barack Obama comes begging to Nato for more troops for Afghanistan to support the troop surge he better bring a diet plan and fitness regime for the Germans. Obama has said as many as 20,000 more US troops could go, but he wants a commitment from allies for more support. Good luck with that.

On that note, and more seriously, chief of the defence staff in the UK, Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup, has said no more British troops should be sent to Afghanistan unless other countries make greater efforts to promote the economic and political development as fears grow over the lack of ability of Hamid Karzai’s government to impose its will outside the capital.

The Guardian says frustration among British military commanders is coming out into the open, which was reflected in a forthright speech by Sir Jock about any increase to the 8,000 British troops in Afghanistan.

“I’m not saying that we couldn’t or shouldn’t do more in Afghanistan if we judge that to be necessary.”

It has been hinted that Britain could transfer some of its 4,000 troops in Iraq to Afghanistan but is resisting the idea of a one for one swap.

The Daily Telegraph quotes senior defence sources as saying that the defence chief’s comments reflect a belief that the Nato mission to contain the Taliban and stabilise Afghanistan is not making enough progress because of the lack of troops on the ground.

“We do not have enough military force on the ground — it’s as simple as that,” said one source. “We need more than we’ve got now.”

If only you could win this war in the beer halls. It has been pointed out by Nick in the comments that the French are also pretty shoddy as was mentioned in the Summer.

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