Iraq, Afghan wars biggest logistical effort since WWII

Iraq, Afghan wars biggest logistical effort since WWII

Saturday, April 03, 2010
WASHINGTON: The US military’s drawdown in Iraq and buildup in Afghanistan represents the biggest movement of troops and equipment since World War II, a top general said on Friday.

“This is the largest operation, that we’ve been able to determine, since the build-up for World War II,” said Lieutenant General William Webster, who oversees the effort as head of the Third Army. Webster described a mammoth logistical task in moving 30,000 troops and tons of supplies to Afghanistan, while pulling out equipment and tens of thousands of forces from Iraq — all by a September deadline.

About 2.8 million pieces of equipment are being withdrawn from Iraq as part of a gradual US drawdown underway, and the army has to decide what items can be shifted to Afghanistan, shipped back to the United States or left behind in Iraq, Webster said. “We began, actually, last June moving equipment out of Iraq, and we’re sorting it out here in Kuwait,” he said by video link from a US base there.

“Some of it goes into Afghanistan; some of it goes back to the army to be reset back in the depots and then returned to our soldiers who are training back in” the United States, he said.

The combined drawdown in Iraq and surge in Afghanistan has been dubbed “Nickel II,” the general said. The codename plays off the Third Army’s role in World War II, when General Patton ordered a dramatic turnabout to attack the Germans during the Battle of the Bulge. Patton called his operation “Nickel.”
100 Danish soldiers stuck at Kabul airport

Saturday, April 03, 2010
COPENHAGEN: Some 100 Danish soldiers due to fly home from Afghanistan this week for the Easter holidays have become stranded in Kabul after an undisclosed country revoked Denmark’s over-flight rights, the military said on Friday.

“At the moment we are working very hard day and night to find a solution to bring the troops home,” said Niels Brandt, a spokesman for the Danish International Logistic Centre (DANILOG) under the Danish military.

“We are currently looking for a commercial airline that could rent us a plane and that has a route out of Afghanistan,” he told AFP.

Around 100 of the approximately 750 Danish soldiers deployed in Afghanistan’s southern Helmand province had been scheduled to fly home Thursday for a nearly three-week holiday.

But they became stranded in Kabul after the country suddenly revoked over-flight rights needed for the route to Denmark, Brandt said, refusing to reveal which nation was blocking the flight.

“I can not release the name of the country ... as that could harm the diplomatic process that has also been launched,” he said.

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