Two months before the eighth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan and the beginning of NATO's first-ever ground war the world is witness to a 21st Century armed conflict without end waged by the largest military coalition in history.
With recent announcements that troops from such diverse nations as Colombia, Mongolia, Armenia, Japan, South Korea, Ukraine and Montenegro are to or may join those of some 45 other countries serving under the command of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), there will soon be military personnel from fifty nations on five continents and in the Middle East serving under a unified command structure.
Never before have soldiers from so many states served in the same war theater, much less the same country.
By way of comparison, there were twenty six (higher, and looser, estimates go as high as 34) national contingents in the so-called coalition of the willing in Iraq as of 2006. In the interim between now and then troops from all contributing nations but the United States and Great Britain have been withdrawn and in most cases redeployed to Afghanistan.
This article covers alot of ground, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Caspian Sea Basin and of course Africa, and more, much more. Read entirely at link above.
It ends like this......
A war that serves as a furnace to forge an integrated, battle-hardened international military force that can be employed wherever else in the world Brussels and Washington choose to use it in the future.
The Afghan war, then, is no ordinary war, as abhorrent as all wars are.
It is only going to expand in width and in the amount of blood shed, but already it is distinguished by several developments:
It is the U.S.'s first war in Asia and its longest one anywhere since Vietnam.
It is NATO's first ground war and its first military campaign in Asia.
The German army has engaged in its first combat operations since the defeat of the Third Reich in 1945.
Finnish soldiers have engaged in combat for the first time since World War II and Swedish forces in almost 200 years.
Canada has lost its first troops in combat, 127, since the Korean War.
Australia has registered its first combat deaths since the Vietnam War.
More British soldiers have been killed, 191, than at any time since the Falklands/Malvinas war in 1982.
A nation that borders Pakistan, Iran, China and two Central Asian nations has been thrown into turmoil. The world's seven official nuclear nations are either in the neighborhood - China, Pakistan, India and Russia - or are engaged in hostilities - the U.S., Britain and France.
The only beneficiary of this conflagration is a rapidly emerging Global NATO.