Saturday, March 27, 2004

WHY IS NATO SITTING ON ITS ASS? NATO SEC-GEN MUST ANSWER! Last August, NATO took control of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. Two months later, in October, the U.N. Security Council adopted a resolution authorizing the expansion of ISAF's operations. The ISAF expanded its operations in January of this year. Working together with American soldiers, the Germans are now leading the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Kunduz, a city in the province going by the same name in the north of the country.

I expected progress with the appointment of Dutch Foreign Minister Jaap de Hoop Scheffer as Secretary General of NATO. (I lived in the Netherlands for a while and I shook his hand once but Dutch politics is not as exciting as one might expect.) After all, the first thing he did on the job was to request the homeland for Apache choppers for the ISAF. He visited Afghanistan. De Hoop Scheffer called ISAF’s expansion in Afghanistan NATO's most important and challenging task in 2004. If that's true, NATO is slowly losing credibility and, most importantly, failing the Afghan people.

FOR THE RECORD: De Hoop Scheffer on Afghanistan: "Our security depends on the security of Afghanistan." ... "We will try do everything to build a better, safer and thriving future for you, president Karzai, your government and the Afghan people." [ANP] ... "NATO is going to take a larger role in Afghanistan." [White House] ... "Our first, and immediate priority is to get Afghanistan right. We cannot afford to fail." [National Defense University] ... "There was general agreement on extending the number of Provincial Reconstruction Teams. This will help spread stability beyond the capital of Kabul and assist the Karzai Government in its task of consolidating the country and strengthening its ownership of the political and economic recovery process." [Munich Security Conference]

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