“I am absolutely convinced that if we allowed Afghanistan to fall back into Taliban rule it would become a failed state again and a black hole for terrorism training,” Scheffer told the Daily Telegraph last week.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair used NATO summit this week to press his allies to do more in Afghanistan, where British troops are on the frontline of bloody fighting with Taliban insurgents. “The credibility of NATO… rests on us doing everything we can to help the people of Afghanistan in their search away from the Taliban,” he said, his message firmly in Riga summit.Blair has good reason to be worried: in recent months the death toll among British troops has surged upwards since they spearheaded NATO’s move into the south in the middle of the year, and more than 40 have now died. “I don’t believe there is an alternative but to fight this and to fight it for as long as it takes,” British Prime Minister Tony Blair told troops in southern Afghanistan last week.
This is while NWFP Governor Ali Mohammad Jan Aurakzai said “There will be no military solution, there has to be a political solution. How many more lives have to be lost before people realise it’s time for dialogue?”Ali Mohammad Jan Aurakzai has said that the British forces will never win in Afghanistan by military means, and that it should open negotiations with the Taliban. NATO was ignoring the realities on the ground, he said and added that the reason why Taliban numbers had swelled was because moderates were joining the militants. “Bring 50,000 more troops and fight for 10 to 15 years more and you won’t resolve it. The British with their history in Afghanistan should have known that better than anyone else,” the Dawn quoted Aurakzai as saying in an interview with Sunday Times reporter Christina Lamb. He added: “It is no longer an insurgency but a war of Pashtun resistance exactly on the model of the first Anglo-Afghan war. Then too (in 1839-42) initially there were celebrations. adding:
“A military mission alone will not succeed,” U.S. Ambassador to NATO Victoria Nuland said.”We must have security married to good governance and development, and that means the EU, U.N. and NATO working in harmony with Afghans,” she wrote on NATO’s Web site last week.Few and few Afghan children wave as foreign patrol passes dusty streets of Kandahar, and local men sipping tea in front of shops offer only a steely gaze, one of the tea drinkers said “foreign troops don’t know where they are and can’t tell a farmer from a militant.”
Although all 26 nations have troops serving with the mission, those in the southern front lines — mainly Canada, Britain, the United States and the Netherlands — are irked that others — primarily Germany, Italy, France and Spain — have restrictions limiting their troops to the relatively peaceful north and west.”Putting caveats on operations means putting caveats on NATO’s future,” NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said.
France and the United States hold fundamentally different views of NATO’s role. Paris is wary of what it sees as Washington’s attempts to use NATO to expand its influence at the expense of a more independent EU. Many blame continued tension between France and United States for the relatively limited ambition of the Riga agenda and expect more for the next summit in 2008, when there’ll probably be a new president in Paris, or the one after in 2009, when there will certainly be a new president in Washington.
“More and more capitals are reluctant to commit additional troops,” said French lawmaker Pierre Lellouche, who recently chaired a session of the NATO parliamentary assembly in Quebec.
“Afghanistan has become a test case for whether we can overcome the growing discrepancy between NATO’s expanding missions and its lagging capabilities,” NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said at the summit. The outcome of the summit is more time for NATO to adjust its strategy and minimise the discrepancy but failure for Afghanistan where bloodshed is on the rise. A terror war doesn’t give you time like a summit does.