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US M-16s to Nepal, Nepali troops to Iraq?

by Kathmandu Post/Nepal News Tuesday, Jun. 24, 2003 at 9:47 AM

US expects Nepali troops in Iraq; M-16 airlift complete. See a connection?

M-16 airlift complete

The airlift of 5,000 M-16 assault rifles ordered during the tenure of Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba "was completed" last week, official sources who cannot be identified told Nepalnews.

The Deuba Government ordered the rifles from a US arms manufacturer to equip the Royal Nepal Army with modern weapons with the escalation of a Maoist insurgency.

About 3,000 pieces of the rifles landed at the Airport Tuesday. The first consignment arrived before Deuba's dismissal on October 4 last year. The deal was worth Rs.350 million.

Nepal has also ordered another arms consignment from a Belgian company; only one consignment of the arms was delivered last year. nepalnews.com br June 23



US expects Nepali troops in Iraq

Post Report

KATHMANDU, June 22 : The Bush administration is in talks with Nepal to send troops to help US forces police Iraq. "Nepal is one of the 40 countries the United States is expecting to send troops to Iraq," said a news story in The Washington Post today.

According to the report, the USA is confident of 20,000 troops coming from all over the world to help the US forces in Iraq. Even if the friendly countries send troops to Iraq, the foreign forces will be profoundly outnumbered by 146,000 troops operating in Iraq alongside 12,000 mostly British troops.

With 67,000 US soldiers stationed in Kuwait, the American force is 213,000 in the region. Quoting the Pentagon officials, The Washington Post has written that the number will drop as security conditions and the arrival of foreign forces permit.

According to the USA’s most prominent dailies, US officials appealed to about 85 countries for postwar help in Iraq in a campaign that began before the war began in March, according to the Post report.

Meanwhile, Agence France Presse (AFP) has added that the commander of the US army in the Pacific, Lieutenant General James Cambell, has assured Nepal of military support during his recent meeting with Pyar Jung Thapa, the Chief of Army Staff.



No formal request for troops: Thapa

The Government has not received a formal request from the United States for Royal Nepal Army troops to be dispatched to Iraq, Government Spokesman and Communications Minister Kamal Thapa said in his first formal news conference.

USA has asked for 20,000 troops from 40 countries, including Nepal, for duties in Iraq after the end of the US-led war.

The Vajpayee government is facing difficulties in committing troops to Iraq under the American flag. nepalnews.com br June 23

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