Monday, August 11, 2003

The New York Times on NATO taking over peacekeeping in Afghanistan.

NATO takes over the force from the joint leadership of Germany and the Netherlands. It has committed to leading the force until Afghanistan holds elections — tentatively planned for June 2004 — and perhaps beyond. That commitment will allow for a continuing headquarters, force commander, strategic coordination, command and control and political direction, Mr. Rizzo noted today.

Germany, which sparred with the Bush administration over the war in Iraq, was among the countries that urged NATO to take on the Afghan mission, and the first NATO commander of the security force is a German, Lt. Gen. Gцtz F. E. Gliemeroth.
Okay, okay. I want to know: are troops going to keep the peace only in Kabul or are the fine men of NATO aware that there's an Afghanistan outside of Kabul?
On Sunday, a NATO spokesman indicated that after "some months" of settling into the command, it might weigh an expansion beyond Kabul. In The Wall Street Journal Europe today, the American ambassador to NATO, Nicholas Burns, wrote that expansion of the security force "will need to be considered seriously once NATO has settled into its role in Kabul." The current parameters for the force — Kabul and its environs — are defined by United Nations mandate.

Jean Arnault, the deputy special representative of the United Nations secretary general, said today that "if one wants to succeed in maintaining security in Kabul, then one cannot ignore insecurity in the rest of the country."
God is Great. This makes me incredibly happy.

Fact is that in terms of the war on terrorism, Afghanistan is a hotbed for terrorists thanks to Pakistan, unlike Iraq. Taliban forces are re-capturing strongholds, killing aidworkers outside of Kabul and threathening the local population. The situation is, well, dire and chaotic.

Tom Tomorrow posted an excerpt from Sunday's Meet the Press where Seigenthaler talks about this LA Times article (re-print via the Sun; thanks to Tom again):
MR. SEIGENTHALER: Let me turn now to the war on terror and Afghanistan and show you an article from Monday’s LA Times and get your reaction. It said, “U.S. forces have their hands full trying to subdue attacks in Iraq. But with the slow buildup of a national Afghan army, an inadequate U.S. and coalition presence and poor progress on reconstruction projects, Afghanistan is spiraling out of control and risks becoming a ‘narco-mafia’ state, some humanitarian agencies warn. Already the signs are there — a boom in opium production, rampant banditry and huge swaths of territory unsafe for Western aid workers. The central government has almost no power over regional warlords who control roads and extort money from truck drivers, choking commerce and trade. If the country slips into anarchy, it risks becoming a haven for resurgent Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters. And the point of U.S. military action here could be lost — a major setback in the war against terrorism.” Senator, there are reports the Bush administration is considering $1 billion in aid to Afghanistan. Do you think that’s a good idea?

SEN. LUGAR: Yes, it certainly is, and furthermore the assumption of authority by the NATO powers in Afghanistan is a step forward. President Karzai has a five-year budget. He knows where the holes are, and that is the moneys that are needed for policing and need for infrastructure change so they can have some commerce. There is a good plan, good leadership, but we’re going to have to do much more. Afghanistan cannot be a failed state; otherwise they’ll be an incubator for terrorism, for the al-Qaeda types, just as it was before. To recycle all of that would be totally unacceptable.

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