A NATO perspective on Afghan security

The World

Dozens of trucks unload sacks of flour at this depot, but the mood of the drives is anything but bright. One of the drivers say he came from near the Pakistan border and Afghan police stopped him nearly twenty times at checkpoints and each one hit him up for a drive. Other drives say the highway from Kandahar is suicide for anyone from that area. Another driver says there isn’t enough security on the ground to protect civilians. General David McKiernan is inclined to agree. Promises were made to deploy more troops to Afghanistan, but DM points out that NATO countries have not always fulfilled their promises. He points out that Afghanistan might need about 4,000 troops to stabilize it, or eight times bigger than the current ISAF force. He doesn’t buy into the notion of a resurgent Taliban, even though there’s been more violence. DM defends the progress that’s been made here over the past six years. He brushes aside allegations that not many of the Afghan army units are capable of fighting on their own. In one offensive last week, coalition troops say they killed nearly 100 Taliban fighters but the battle also proves another point: Taliban forces are able to move freely. Karzai, the Afghan President, threatened to take the fighting into the Pakistan border areas where the Taliban has refuge, but DM points out his mandate does not allow for that except in self-defense. DM says he considers the building of government institutions as important security, but the catch is that kind of nation building can’t be done where the Taliban has strength and support. DM says local Afghan governance must fill the power vacuum and quickly.

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