Thursday, August 16, 2012

New Zealand criticise Hungary

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key recently criticised Hungarian forces serving in Afghanistan. Two New Zealand soldiers were killed and six others were injured in an engagement with Taliban rebels recently. The rebels entered the New Zealand controlled territory from the neighbouring Baghlan province where Hungary's provincial reconstruction team is based. “As far as I’m aware, the Hungarians don’t go out at night. Not in Afghanistan anyway – they might in Budapest,” Key said.

The Hungarian Defence Ministry and the Hungarian Armed Forces rejected the criticisms made by Key. They said that it wasn't the duty of reconstruction teams to mop up pockets of Taliban rebels. The situation in Afghanistan is not improving even with the use of NATO intervention. For years now, NATO forces have fought and engaged Taliban rebels with moderate success. It seems that day after day we are hearing about various NATO coalition countries loosing personnel on a regular basis. Hungary has also lost soldiers in this conflict so they have also paid in blood as well. It seems that after joining NATO, Hungary is being sent overseas to fight in a war that can't be won and that has nothing to do with her security.

Most western public opinion has been against the war in Afghanistan. It seems that even the Afghans and their government want the NATO coalition troops to leave. I think that Mr. Key's criticism of the Hungarian forces based in Baghlan is not fair. The Taliban is fighting a guerrilla-style warfare against the Afghan government and NATO coalition troops. Attacks occur all over the country without notice. Recently, attacks even occurred in the Afghan capital of Kabul. The capital is supposed to be "controlled" by government forces and is supposed to be "safe".

Many in Hungary wonder why their troops have been sent half way across the world to fight in a war that has nothing to do with Hungarian security. The former Eastern Bloc countries flocked to join NATO after the Cold War was over in order to protect themselves from the continued Russian threat. I'm pretty sure that they never thought over ten years ago when they joined NATO that they would be fighting in a war far from home.