NATO's top commander of operations, General James Jones,
acknowledged Thursday the alliance had been taken aback by the
extent of violence in southern Afghanistan and urged allies to
"We are talking about modest reinforcements," Jones told a news
briefing at NATO's European military headquarters in Mons, Belgium,
saying commanders on the ground sought several hundred additional
troops, more helicopters and transport aircraft.
Several NATO soldiers have been killed in fierce fighting with
Islamist Taliban guerrillas since the alliance extended its
peacekeeping mission to the south a month ago.
Jones said he would turn initially to existing contributors to
the 37-nation International Security Assistance Force (ISAF),
including Germany, which has several thousand troops in the
relatively calm north of Afghanistan.
He also said he would plead with NATO nations to remove
restrictions, known as caveats, on how and where a country's troops
can be used, which tie commanders' hands.
Discussions would take place at a meeting of NATO chiefs of
staff in Warsaw today and tomorrow, and Jones said he was confident
they would produce early results.
"While some of it (violence) is predictable, we should recognize
we are a little bit surprised at the level of intensity, and (the
fact) that the opposition in some areas are not relying on
traditional hit-and-run tactics," the US Marine general said. "It's
something akin to poking the bee-hive and the bees are swarming,"
he said of the Taliban resistance in the south.
NATO is gradually taking over security responsibility, alongside
the Afghan army, from a US-led force that invaded Afghanistan in
(China Daily September 8, 2006)