Asian troops promised by the United Nations for a joint peacekeeping force in Darfur won't be needed, the leaders of the African Union said yesterday; African countries will supply all 26,000 peacekeepers, the BBC reports. But critics doubt that enough trained African soldiers are available for an effective force, and that they will be sufficiently independent of the Sudanese government to stop the violence.
Sudan had agreed to the joint UN and AU force only reluctantly, arguing that non-African forces would threaten the country's sovereignty. UN officials had promised that its troops for the peacekeeping force would be "predominantly African," but recently published a list of Asian countries—including Indonesia, Pakistan and Nepal—that had promised to contribute personnel. The AU already has 7,000 troops posted in Darfur.