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US wanted SL troops in Afghanistan

28 October 2011 11:03 pm - 5     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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The United States in December 2009 raised the possibility of Sri Lanka contributing to US-led coalition operations in Afghanistan, but Sri Lanka had declined the offer, a leaked US diplomatic cable cited by Wikileaks revealed.

The leaked ‘Confidential’ cable stated that this was revealed in a meeting US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert O. Blake had with Sri Lankan Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa on December 8, 2009.

“Blake raised the possibility of Sri Lanka contributing to US-led coalition operations in Afghanistan, noting that would be a significant step in support of improving military-to-military engagement. Rajapaksa replied that contributing forces for combat operations right now would be too politically sensitive during the current election season in Sri Lanka.  He added that the Sri Lankan Government would have to consider seriously the implications for its Muslim minority as well as the danger of drawing the ire of groups like Al-Qaida and Lashkar-e-Taiba by becoming a force provider. 

He said a possible alternative for Sri Lanka might be to provide training assistance to Afghan security forces under the auspices of a non-governmental organisation or private company.  He recalled a local precedent for this approach, dating back to 1985-1986 when a South Africa-based company had provided security assistance to Sri Lanka in the early years of the war with the LTTE.  He said the company had provided military and security experts from a host of countries, including the United Kingdom, other Commonwealth nations, and even some Russians.  For four or five years, the company was based in Jaffna and had trained Sri Lankan pilots and taught infantry tactics, including close quarters combat skills.  He said that while the South African company had not participated in combat operations, it had closely monitored Sri Lankan military operations, assisting in de-briefing patrols and conducting after action reviews,” the cable stated.

It said Blake had warned that Lakshar-e-Taiba, which had used Nepal and Bangladesh as staging posts to attack India, could next turn to Sri Lanka.

“Rajapaksa said the Sri Lankan Government has arrested two men transiting Sri Lanka to Nepal based on information provided by India’s research and Analysis Wing (RAW). The Sri Lankan Government has since turned them over to RAW. Rajapaksa noted that the Sri Lankan Government has assigned separate officers to watch extremists. Blake suggested that the Sri Lankan Government exchange further information about LTTE networks with US counter-terrorism experts,” the cable stated.

According to the cable they also discussed accountability and reconciliation, the State of Emergency; disarmament of ex-combatants and paramilitary groups; reconstruction in the North, rehabilitation of LTTE ex-combatants; LTTE child soldiers; access to LTTE ex-combatants for the ICRC; potential Sri Lankan contributions to peacekeeping operations and to US-led coalition efforts, and Sri Lankan military expansion plans.

  Comments - 5

  • MagodisThuma Saturday, 29 October 2011 07:27 AM

    Our Soldiers are the best of the world !
    We have nothing to do with Afghanistan
    You have Cut...So get it on your shoulders !

    Imasha Saturday, 29 October 2011 07:31 AM

    I appreciate the government for not allowing our forces to go to Afghanistan. If we have sent we would been another target like Madrid and London. Good decision.

    DHA Saturday, 29 October 2011 10:10 AM

    Good thinking by Gota....

    Ahmad Saturday, 29 October 2011 11:40 AM

    It was a wise decision.

    Aj Sunday, 30 October 2011 03:37 PM

    we do not need unwanted issues. Wise Decision. Better not think of engaging on this even in future.


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