Monday, February 04, 2008

NATO does the five o:clock follies

Everyone hold up. Do not touch that keyboard. Despite the fact that for two years NATO forces have not been able to secure a small hydro-electric dam, we are now told things are going rather well in Afghanistan.
More than six years since the Taliban were ousted from power in Afghanistan, the militant movement is being “contained,” with some 70 per cent of violence last year occurring in just 10 per cent of the country, NATO said.

The upbeat assessment Sunday contrasted reports that a resurgent Taliban are challenging the U.S. and its allies. It also comes as several of NATO's European members are refusing to send soldiers to Afghanistan's south, the scene of most of the fighting, opening a rift with the U.S. and others that have borne the brunt.

Three-quarters of Afghanistan suffered just one violent incident per week last year, Lt. Col. Claudia Foss, a spokeswoman for NATO's International Security Assistance Force told a press conference in Kabul.

“It is becoming increasingly clear that the insurgent movement is being contained,” Lt. Col. Foss said.

Whoa! That's a pretty tight spin there, colonel. In short, absolutely fuck all has changed. A few more details would show that this contained insurgency is actually growing. Instead of the normal withdrawal this winter, the insurgents have kept up the pressure.

Where have we seen this kind of behaviour before?

Oh yeah. Here. And for what it's worth, this weekend I heard Kabul referred to as the equivalent of Saigon in the early 1970s: an armed enclave protecting a government and a military establishment that has no idea what's actually happening in the field.

Why would NATO suddenly issue this That wasn't the mission, but let's call it accomplished anyway announcement? Well look at the strange type of life the various reports have taken on.
An independent study co-chaired by retired Marine Corps Gen. James Jones and former UN ambassador Thomas Pickering warned last week that Afghanistan risks becoming a failed state because of deteriorating international support and the growing insurgency.

On Sunday, a British cabinet minister called on allies to send troops to the south.

“We have made clear to our NATO partners that we do want to see appropriate burden sharing, not just in the number of troops on the ground but where those troops are committed within Afghanistan,” Douglas Alexander, British International Development Secretary, told the British Broadcasting Corp.

Germany in particular has been resisting pressure to deploy troops to the south. Germany insists its parliamentary mandate is for its 3,500 soldiers to serve along the northern border, only helping out in the south for a limited period.

Canada is threatening not to extend its military mission in Afghanistan after 2009 unless another NATO country sends more soldiers to the south.
Well the Manley Report is a crock and it's being wheeled out as some form of policy document. As for the rest, I would say the good colonel got it wrong.

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