In the news...

October 19, 2012

Karzai: NATO can speed up handover of security

Slobodan Lekic
Associated Press

President Hamid Karzai said Oct. 18 the nation’s military and police are ready and willing to take full responsibility for security in the country if the U.S.-led international coalition decides to speed up the handover to Afghan government forces.
With support for the already unpopular war fading in the West, there has been growing speculation that NATO could accelerate withdrawal plans that currently call for the security transition to Afghan forces to be complete by the end of 2014, when all foreign combat troops are scheduled to leave the country.

“Afghans are ready to expedite the process of transition if necessary, and willing as well,” Karzai said during a joint news conference with NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. “So this is in all aspects good news for us and good news for NATO.”

A NATO diplomat said there was no discussion of speeding up the 2014 timeline during the meeting between Karzai and the alliance chief. The diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with alliance’s regulations, said Karzai was eager to see the next stage of transition, which would have Afghan forces take charge of security for almost the entire country.
There are questions, however, about the ability of the Afghan forces to secure the country.

The Afghan army has grown to 184,676 soldiers, and the country’s police force now numbers 146,339 officers – putting them just short of the planned number of 352,000 members. But critics say the rapid expansion has not significantly improved their ability to plan and conduct operations without support from foreign forces in terms of logistics, air support and medical evacuations.

Furthermore, the number of Afghans leaving the army has remained stubbornly high, with 27 percent of troops either deserting or not re-enlisting despite the higher salaries offered. And though the number of volunteers is still high, the army needs to train about 50,000 recruits each year just to compensate for the loss.

Polls show that the 11-year war has little public support among NATO’s 28 member states, most of which are cutting defense budgets as part of the austerity measures adopted to deal with the financial crises.

A recent upsurge in the number of insider attacks on coalition troops by Afghan soldiers or police – or insurgents disguised in their uniforms – has further undermined public support for the war in the West. At least 52 American and other NATO troops have died so far this year in those attacks.

In the past several months, there have been calls in the United States and elsewhere to accelerate the drawdown and to withdraw coalition troops by the end of next year.

Fogh Rasmussen said the alliance remains committed to help enable Afghan forces assume full responsibility for the country’s security after 2014. The military alliance has also agreed to offer a smaller, post-2014 mission to help Afghan forces with training, advice and assistance.

“We are committed to continuing that cooperation with the Afghan national security forces,” he said.

The secretary-general and NATO’s governing body, the North Atlantic Council, were visiting Kabul Oct. 18 for meetings with Karzai, coalition military commander Gen. John Allen and commanders of Afghan government forces.

The current strategy agreed to by NATO, its partners and Karzai’s government is to enable the Afghans to take over the war against the Taliban and other insurgents by the end of 2014.

NATO started drawing down its forces earlier this year. It currently has 104,000 troops in Afghanistan – 68,000 of them Americans – down from 140,000 the alliance had here in 2011. Among those who left are the 33,000 U.S. troops deployed to Afghanistan after 2009, when President Barack Obama ordered a surge in a bid to quell the Taliban.

Karzai also said he did not believe the outcome of the upcoming presidential elections in the United States would affect Washington’s long-term policy toward Afghanistan regardless of whether President Barack Obama or his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, emerges as the winner.

“America has a set strategy for Afghanistan and any government who comes in will follow that, so it will not affect Afghanistan,” Karzai said.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines July 29, 2015

News: Lockheed F-35s reliability found wanting in shipboard testing – The Marine Corps’ version of Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fighter demonstrated poor reliability in a 12-day exercise at sea, according to the U.S. military’s top testing officer.   Business: Rockwell Collins to upgrade Boeing comms system – Rockwell Collins will upgrade the low-frequency transmi...
 
 

Headlines July 27, 2015

News: U.S.-Turkey deal aims to create de facto ‘safe zone’ in northwest Syria – Turkey and the United States have agreed on the outlines of a de facto “safe zone” along the Turkey-Syria border under the terms of a deal that is expected to significantly increase the scope and pace of the U.S.-led air war against...
 
 

Headlines July 24, 2015

News: Turkey bombs Islamic State targets in Syria – Turkish planes have for the first time carried out air strikes against Islamic State group targets in Syria. Turkey to allow airstrikes against ISIS from Incirlik – Turkey will allow the U.S. to strike Islamic State group targets from Incirlik Air Base, according to multiple reports....
 

 

News Briefs July 24, 2015

Officials: Progress made cleaning up massive jet fuel spill State and federal officials are becoming increasingly confident they’ll be able to clean up a massive plume of jet fuel at the edge of Albuquerque, N.M., before it reaches drinking water wells. Kirtland Air Force Base and state environment officials will be updating the public on...
 
 

Headlines July 22, 2015

News: Pentagon confirms drone crashed in Iraq – A Pentagon spokesman said the aircraft was returning from an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance mission when “technical complications” caused a loss of communication with the aircraft July 16.   Business: Boeing faces eight-month delay on $3 billion tanker contracts – Boeing may have to wait an extra eight...
 
 

News Briefs July 22, 2015

U.S. Navy commander stresses positives in China relationship The Navy’s new commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet sounded a conciliatory note toward China July 21 during the last stop of a three-country Asian tour. “We have much more in common than we do in competition,” Adm. Scott Swift told reporters in Tokyo. He added, though,...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>