Juppe: Afghanistan a ‘Trap’; NATO stuck There Past 2014

At the NATO summit in Lisbon, it is expected to be announced that although 2014 is the target date by which NATO and US troops would withdraw, in fact a NATO contingent will be in the country thereafter in some capacity. Although this prospect is said to mollify Afghan elites around Karzai who fear being abandoned, it is likely to spur the insurgents to redouble their efforts to expel NATO.

And, the US public is unlikely to be pleased with an open-ended commitment in Afghanistan, since half of Americans want out. Many, as Tom Engelhardt writes, see the war as a boondoggle. And, AP reports that there are concerns that auditing procedures were inadequate to stop fraud concerning the $56 bn. in aid the US has given to Afghanistan.

Likewise, many European leaders are frustrated. French Defense Minister Alain Juppe provoked controversy by saying that Afghanistan is a “trap” for Western forces. He indicated a desire to get French troops out of the country as soon as Afghan soldiers could take over security details.

Before flying to the NATO conference in Lisbon, both Afghan President Hamid Karzai and US Gen. David Petraeus held a one-hour meeting to settle their public spat over night raids on suspected Taliban. Petraeus represented them as coordinated with the Afghan Ministry of Defense and often led by Afghanistan National Army officers, with US special operations troops as partners. Karzai reluctantly agreed, though he had earlier demanded that the night raids cease because they were causing such discontent among Afghans. Some night raids have gone tragically wrong and targeted innocents. It may also be, as the WSJ reported, that Karzai has been offered more oversight over the night raids.

Aljazeera English has a video report on US dependence on warlords in Afghanistan:


Aljazeera also reports on the NATO plan to turn security over to Afghan forces in the Western province of Herat, and the difficulties the strategy faces. (Another thing to note is that Herat has become a suburb of the Iranian city of Mashhad, and a smooth handover there will only occur if the Iranians forebear from playing the role of spoiler.)

Posted in Afghanistan | 4 Responses | Print |

4 Responses

  1. link to democracynow.org

    November 19, 2010

    U.S. Introduces Tanks Into Afghan War
    By Amy Goodman

    President Obama has arrived in Portugal for a two-day NATO summit focused on the Afghanistan war. The Obama administration hopes to drum up support for its military strategy in Afghanistan and its new plan to delay a non-binding withdrawal deadline to at least 2014. The summit comes as the United States is escalating military operations to the highest level of the nine-year war. The Washington Post reports the U.S. military is deploying battle tanks in Afghanistan for the first time. * U.S. military commanders had long resisted introducing tanks in part due to fears they’d remind Afghans of the tank-heavy Soviet occupation. But top U.S. commander General David Petraeus ordered at least 16 M1 Abrams tanks into Helmand province last month, with more likely to follow. The deployments follow the most intense month of NATO bombardments so far, with more than 1,000 bombs and missiles fired in October. A senior U.S. military official told the Washington Post: “We’ve taken the gloves off, and it has had a huge impact.” Another official said he thinks the increased damage to Afghan property from the bombings has had a beneficial effect: by forcing Afghans to travel to their local governors’ offices to submit damage claims, the official said: “in effect, you’re connecting the [Afghan] government to the people.”

    * link to washingtonpost.com

    • “by forcing Afghans to travel to their local governors’ offices to submit damage claims, the official said: “in effect, you’re connecting the [Afghan] government to the people.”
      This is so stupid its genius – merging the doctrines of Endless Overkill and Winning Hearts and Minds. With officials like this in charge in charge of the war effort, I think I might start growing a beard now, just to be safe.

  2. What Constitutional right does President Obama have to keep us spending astounding amounts of money till beyond 2014 to wage war in Afghanistan when we are not even at war with Afghanistan? President Obama is taking America to perpetual war and there is virtually never a complaint from Congressional Democrats. What is the point of supporting a Democratic President who has decided on his own to wage war indefinitely?

  3. Every powerful nation thinks that they can manipulate things any way they like.

    It is 1588; British at the sea put Spanish invincibility to rest. Later British thought sun will never set on their empire. Alas, their days of glory are long gone; the sun hardly rises on British Isles.

    The lonely super power cannot wage wars on borrowed money too long. If correct decisions are not made, there are long precipices on every side; those will take us downwards faster than any rollercoaster.

    Central and south America is no longer backyard of USA. Emerging & reemerging powers are catching up fast. Some may over take the powers of today, sooner than many analysts predict.

    No one has ruled Afghans ever. They are the most hardy & free spirited people. They have proved it over & over in their long history with the foreign invaders.

    British & Soviets came with all their modern weapons & tanks; I do not think USA can do any better.

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