July 28th, 2010
01:18 PM ET

Tonga sends troops to Afghanistan ... for jobs

The tiny Pacific nation of Tonga will be sending troops to Afghanistan later this year, in part to create jobs and address the islands’ unemployment problem.

A contingent of 55 Tongan soldiers is expected to begin service in Afghanistan in November, the first of 275 soldiers committed over a two-year period by the Tongan government, Matangi Tonga newspaper reported Wednesday.

The paper reported that Prime Minister Feleti Sevele had received a request from Britain and NATO for Tonga’s assistance in the fight against the Taliban.

Tongan defense services commander Brig. Tauaika 'Uta'atu told CNN affiliate Australia’s ABC News that the country "looks safer than Iraq."

"We will be doing force protection, and security on the boundaries of a camp, which is in the desert," he told Matangi newspaper.

He said the camp holds about 20,000 British troops and U.S. Marines. The Tongans troops will be working with the same 1st Marine Division that they had worked with in Iraq. The soldiers will be under the command of the British military. The British government is also funding the deployment at a cost of more than 2.5 million pounds (US$3.9 million) in the first year.

One lawmaker, People's Representative 'Etuate Lavulavu, told Matangi that reasons given in support of the deployment were that it would provide jobs for the nation’s troubled economy and provide educational and emigration opportunities for Tongans.

But Lavulavu expressed concern over the deployment saying that there were better alternatives for solving unemployment than sending troops to a battlefield. Moreover, said, the Tongan soldiers would only be paid 30 pounds (US$47) a day, he said.

"If it is to find employment, the unemployed can get jobs if they are given skilled training, rather than sending them out to the battlefield to get killed," he added.

"The other issues that we have to worry about are the wounded and those who will be mentally disturbed from their war experience, they will have to be looked after."

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soundoff (44 Responses)
  1. Ria

    Actually, you all are in error. According the the teachings Jesus Christ, we are not to fight & kill others anymore like in the Old Testament. In fact, we are to LOVE our enemies & PRAY for them & do good unto them. Hey, I'm not saying I can do this in my heart very well, but I try. Anyway, true Christians are suppose stand there & let the their enemies take their country & kill them. The reason is because they know at the 2nd coming of Jesus they will be resurrected & live forever with Him. They know He will see that justice is done. The wicked will be done away with & they there will be no tears anymore. It would be the hardest thing in the world to do that....but that's what we should be like.

    September 28, 2010 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Wigger

    Yeah but its a dry heat

    August 2, 2010 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
  3. fuyuko

    well, at least Tongans are used to the heat!

    August 2, 2010 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      it snows in winter in Afghanistan. I hope they are used to cold climate as well.

      August 2, 2010 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  4. kishkumen7

    Will the American voter please, please get us out of this and all foreign rats holes, wherever they are! We're sick of war and the sickening amounts of money they cost.

    August 1, 2010 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      Speak for yourself!... I rather not have to go back and start all over again like we did with both wars!!!

      August 2, 2010 at 1:08 am | Report abuse |
      • Sam

        with the amount of money spent we will not have another chance to go back.

        August 2, 2010 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      Ron Paul was one guy who would have abolished Fed, abolished IRS and ended the wars for good in one day. But the War machine i.e. the industrial complex and their lobbing and huge money will never let that happen.

      Wile we are bussy burnning more and more $ each year on 2 wars China is spending all its money to grow its economy stronger and is already number 2 in world economy now. If this continues they will overtake us in a decade or so.

      August 2, 2010 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  5. danny

    yes, send boys and men to be killed to generate income, but stop all resource exploitation because it may damage the environment, great to see the psychopaths have begun ruling the world, good to see Canada's not the only former British Colony to have psychopaths in government running the place. Canada going to stop the largest copper mine in the world to produce because of ridiculous psychotic environmental fears, but continue to send troops to Irag and Afghanistan- where by the way, not one US or Canadian firm has won any mineral or petroleum rights- go figure the Chinese have won all the mining rights.

    August 1, 2010 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      If they don't care about killing Their own People Who cares??? We are better off not killing ours!!!

      August 2, 2010 at 1:07 am | Report abuse |
  6. Robrob

    $47 a day? That's pretty cheap for security guards in a combat zone. I hope they are well trained and equipped.

    July 31, 2010 at 2:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      That to them is a lot of money!!! Why do you think the Big Corporations go to the 3rd world to do Their Business???

      July 31, 2010 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Lefty

    4 million for less than 300 troops ???????? STAY HOME !!!!!!!!!!

    July 30, 2010 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      The problem is the 300 troops can train People so that they have 3 million troops!!! If we train the People to take care of themselves... we have hope that they won't have any place to train theirs to kill us with!!!

      July 30, 2010 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Dave

    @raiders11: This war is going to hurt us at this point. We are only breeding a new generation of terrorists that will despise us.

    July 30, 2010 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • saladin

      that new generation of terrorists is being bred to hate you regardless of whether you're at war with them or sending them chocolates and flowers every day. They grow up in failed societies that can offer nothing for the future to their people, so they play the old Stalinist game of saying everything will be okay after we kill off all of our enemies. That won't just create more of the garbage society they already have, it will usher in a new dawn of happiness and prosperity. (roll eyes) All crap, but you better get used to the fact that they want you out of the way and decide which side you're on. Or not -and then you can see if they got any of those virgins in paradise.

      July 30, 2010 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
      • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

        That is what Hitler used to start WWII and now the Muslin now!!! It is to bad these People doesn't realize that,,, That is why we are training them to take care of themselves!!!

        July 30, 2010 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
  9. JC

    He has a point, war is very profitable. That's why our beloved country, the good ol' USA LOVES war. Sometimes we make them up just to get the profits, look at Iraq. Not only that but our beloved leaders like the great Dick Chaney run companies that make profits from war, man is he loaded. It's nothing bad, just your typical mercenary private citizens giving the military a hand. What's that you say, the idea of mercenaries is banned under the Geneva convention? Let me emphasize, Blackwater and Halliburton employees are private security, yeah that's right, private security.

    July 30, 2010 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      They both work for the Bush's and Cheney's!!! The Rich get richer off of the blood of the Middle Class and Poor!!! The sad part is the Republicans don't care about protecting only the Rich...

      July 30, 2010 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
  10. hello

    wow these tongan must be really desperate if they are going into battlefield for jobs. but if u think about i dont think its about jobs because it going to cost the goverment more money when those troops comback injured, i dont think the soldiers sallary is going to be enough for his healthcare,food and supplies.

    July 29, 2010 at 9:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      The cost of living in these 3rd world countries is nothing compared to the cost of living in the United States and England!!! Why do you think the Corporations would rather have their Employees from there than in Our Country!!! What bothers me the most is not only there taking the jobs else where... But they are also not paying taxes shipping their goods to this Country on top of it!!! How is This Country suppose to compete with them when we have more that has to be done to complete??? How can we compete with Their junk when we have regulations they don't have to abide by???

      July 30, 2010 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      Like you think the Tongu gov would care to give them any health care?

      And before mocking those for joining army for lack of Jobs you may want to look at the ads our gov have been putting out to find new recruits like telling them we will pay for your collage fee and you will have great career after that.

      If one could get numbers on average household income of new recruits before joining the Army you may see that money is a strong motive for joining Army.

      August 2, 2010 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Service Member

    The bond between a US Marine and a Royal Tongan Marine dates back to 1942 [Guadalcanal], and being that I’m a United State Marine from the Kingdom Of Tonga, I salute every Tongan Service member for their willingness to serve in support of this war!

    'Otua Mo Tonga Ko Hoku Tofi'a

    July 29, 2010 at 6:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Joseph McCarthy

      Here's more of that right-wing mumbo-jumbo.How old it gets!!!

      July 29, 2010 at 7:20 am | Report abuse |
      • USAF

        What is old is hearing all these left wing people whine and moan about America but dont want to leave.Get out if you hate it so much. Btw I joined the service for many reasons but killing was not one of them.

        July 29, 2010 at 8:04 am | Report abuse |
      • Dave

        @USAF: No! True patriots stay and change things, not leave. This is my country as much as it yours...except I actually listen to the rule of law and use my mind instead of Republican talking points.

        July 30, 2010 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      The way You People talk the rest of the Arm Forces aren't needed to fight the wars!!! Will you please tell me why there are more of the Army dieing in the Wars than the Marines??? I know that the Marines aren't better fighters!!!

      July 30, 2010 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
      • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

        Dave: Those of us that Served this Country is Proud of doing it for Our Country!!! It really bothers me when some think that they fought the wars by themselves... It is a all the Military Forces that helps win wars are fight wars!!! So why do you Marines talk like know one else is dieing in the wars too???

        July 30, 2010 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      They are joining in because they are poor and have no job as they are saying it out loud clearly if you have cared to read the article healine you are posting your comments on.

      August 2, 2010 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      Having lived in Tonga for a few years, and knowing several members of the Tongan Defense Force I can't agree more. Malo aupito!

      August 24, 2010 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  12. Mr Mime

    Tonga sounds like Tonka! (digital company)

    July 28, 2010 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
  13. No american in support

    All military are killers, in the military you are fair game to be killed just as you have signed up to be a killer, no military, no wars!

    July 28, 2010 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      You sure got that right!!!

      July 28, 2010 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Former Marine

      LOL! Yeah, we are all killers. But to say "No Military, No Wars" is a complete ascenine statement at the very least! Ever since the dawn of time, man has been at war with one another. That is like saying, take away guns, and there will be no crime! It's wishful thinking at the best, but unrealistic no matter what angle you actually look at it from.

      July 28, 2010 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
      • raiders 11

        People need to understand that there will be wars as long as we are on this earth there has been no time that there wasnt a war, without war we cannot know peace and it doesnt matter what anyone does it will never change, besides would you rather this war end and have more attacks on america! im glad we have allies that are willing to take a chance and send people to fight and do their best.

        July 28, 2010 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
      • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

        You are right... They were killing their own People before we got there to kill them!!! Unless we educate these People to take care of themselves... There will never be PEACE there!!! You think that since they are all Muslin... That they could get along with each other!!! But they hate everyone and that is the problem...

        July 30, 2010 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
      • Sam

        afghans were killing each other and it is a problem but not the one we need to solve. The problem we beed to solve first is the growing Tax money we and our children will be paying for the loans we have taken from China to pay for this war.

        August 2, 2010 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark23669

      You're an idiot! Its not the military that starts the wars, its the politicians. The military, at least in this country, is controlled by the civilian leadership of this country. I'm retired from the Air Force and we don't have the authority to start squat. The politicians start things but its up to us to finish them (unless it is Viet Nam and then the politicians started it and wouldn't let us finish it)

      August 2, 2010 at 7:47 am | Report abuse |
  14. Joseph McCarthy

    Sorry,I forgot to mention that the pigs who run Tonga should be replaced by Tongan Communists,if there are any around.

    July 28, 2010 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Joseph McCarthy

    This government deserves to be overthrown and the pigs who run it imprisoned.

    July 28, 2010 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever

      I certainly agree with Joe,110%!!!

      July 28, 2010 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      That's very unpatriotic of you to say that. We're in a time of war!*

      *typical CON argument

      July 30, 2010 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tony

      It's fine for them to go serve as a means of employment. Many people go into the US Military for the same reason. They are going to be paid in the US $1,500 a month ballpark which seems low, If they are being deployed by the UK and the UK is paying for this as reported then they should be paid what their UK counterparts of the same rank are being paid.

      July 31, 2010 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
      • Domwah

        Why? Does the US pay their Afghan counterparts equally? Tonga is a member state of the British Commonwealth (google it if you don't know what that is), that's why they are involved. There is absolutely no reason the UK should pay Tongan military personnel the same as UK personnel.

        August 3, 2010 at 7:18 am | Report abuse |