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NATO leaders tout plan to end Afghan war

57Chevy

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NATO leaders tout plan to end Afghan war

LISBON, Portugal - Western leaders emerged from the NATO summit attempting to impress war-weary voters back home with an ambitious plan to bring the alliance's Afghan adventure to an end within four years.

The nations of the NATO-led force in Afghanistan agreed to press Kabul to take charge of its own security by 2014, but some of the leaders who met in Lisbon had their own way of presenting the withdrawal timetable.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, whose forces are to halt their combat role next year, said he had told Afghan President Hamid Karzai that Canada's support was conditional on a fight against corruption.

For the United States, which provides the vast bulk of the NATO-led force and warned that "some hard fighting remains ahead", President Barack Obama said for the first time that he hoped U.S. troops would stop fighting in 2014.
But, with observers warning that this appears an ambitious goal, he said some U.S. combat troops might have to remain to stand by their Afghan comrades and prevent Taliban insurgents from exploiting any security vacuum.

"But my goal is to make sure that by 2014 we have transitioned Afghans into the lead, and it is a goal to make sure that we are not still engaged in combat operations of the sort that we're involved with now," Obama added.

"Certainly our footprint will have been significantly reduced."

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron's take on the deal was far less cautious. The head of the coalition's second largest troop provider said British troops had sacrificed enough and would come home by 2015.

"This is a firm deadline that we will meet," he told reporters, adding that he thought the allies would accept his decision, as British forces had already spent nine long years in one of the toughest corners of Afghanistan.

"We will have an ongoing relationship with Afghanistan. We spend development money in Afghanistan. We will still have a diplomatic relationship . . . we may well have troops helping to train their armed forces," he said.

"But what I'm saying is, from 2015 there won't be troops in anything like the numbers there are now. There won't be combat troops."

And Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said that, while an overall transition to Afghan command between 2011 and 2014 was "reasonable", for Spain's remaining forces a target date of 2012 "cannot be ruled out".

U.S. officials played down the differences between the allies, insisting that, while NATO's deal with Karzai represents a concrete plan to give control of the battlefield to Afghan forces, each country would make its own choices.

Briefing reporters after Saturday's summit, a senior White House official admitted the agreement was "designed to multiple audiences".

"It's designed to reassure the Afghans. It's designed to hold the coalition together . . . And quite frankly, it's also designed to speak to the Taliban," he said, warning NATO's enemies not to see the accord as a rush to the exit.

"So if the Taliban expect NATO is just going to pack up and leave some day, the declaration . . . is a message to those Taliban leaders that, be careful what you conclude about NATO's long-term commitment," he said.

That, however, appeared to be exactly what the Taliban has concluded.

In a statement on Sunday, the hardline group said the Lisbon agreement showed that Washington had "failed to get additional military assistance of the NATO member countries" or a commitment to continue operations in the long term.

"It is a good news for Afghans and all freedom-loving people of the world and it is a sign of failure for the American government," it said.

NATO's meeting also marked a breakthrough in relations with Russia, with President Dmitry Medvedev attending a summit with the alliance for the first time in two years and pronouncing himself happy with his welcome.

"A period of very difficult tense relations has been overcome," Medvedev said, promising Moscow would study Europe's plans to design a joint missile defence system and consider taking part in its development.

"After this summit I am a bigger optimist than I was before it," he said, referring to East-West relations. On the war, he was less upbeat: "The situation in Afghanistan is far from calming down, to put it mildly."


Photo:

NOVEMBER 19 - (FromTopRow) Italy's President of the Council Silvio Berlusconi, Latvia's President Valdis Zatlers, Lithuania's President Dalia Grybauskaite, Luxembourg's Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, Netherland's Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Norway's Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, Poland's President Bronislaw Komorowski, Romania's President Traian Basescu, Slovakia's President Ivan Gasparovic, Slovenia's President Danilo Turk and EU Council President Herman Von Rompuy, (MiddleRow) Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Joseph Harper, Croatia's President Ivo Josipovic, Czech Republic's President Vaclav Klaus, Denmark's Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen, Estonia's President Toomas Hendrik Ilves , France's President Nicolas Sarkozy, Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, Greece's Prime Minister and Foreign Minister George A. Papandreou, Hungary's President Pal Schmitt and Iceland's Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir, (FrontRow) Bulgaria's President Georgi Parvanov, Belgium's Prime Minister Yves Leterme, Albania's President Bamir Topi, Portugal's President Anibal Antonio Cavaco Silva, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, US President Barack Obama, United Kingdom's Prime Minister David Cameron, Turkey's President Abdullah Gul and Spain's President of the Government Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero pose during the official family photo of the NATO Summit 2010 at Feira Internacional de Lisboa (FIL) in Lisbon, Portugal.
Photograph by: Sean Gallup, Getty Images

                  (Reproduced under the Fair Dealings provisions of the Copyright Act)






 

Franko

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And Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said that, while an overall transition to Afghan command between 2011 and 2014 was "reasonable", for Spain's remaining forces a target date of 2012 "cannot be ruled out".

Because they are such a heavy player in Afghanistan.          ::)

About as effective as Ram or Staples.

Regards
 

The Bread Guy

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Taliban's response?  Why leave then when you can leave now?:
.... Seeing that the USA failed to get additional military assistance of the NATO member countries in Lisbon Meeting for prolongation of the war in Afghanistan despite her all-out efforts or at least get commitment to ensure long-term continuation of the present military power of the NATO member countries in Afghanistan, therefore, it is a good news for the Afghans and all freedom-loving people of the world and it is a sign of failure for the American government. In the past nine years, the invaders could not establish any system of governance in Kabul and they will never be able to do so in future .... The real solution of the Afghan issue lies in withdrawal of the foreign forces. Hence the NATO decision to start withdrawal of military forces from Afghanistan in 2014 is an irrational decision because until then, various untoward and tragic events and battles will take place as a result of this meaningless, imposed and unwinning war. The bottom line for them is to immediately implement what they would ultimately have to implement though after colossal casualties. They should not postpone withdrawal of their forces even be it for one day ....
More at the full statement at Scribd.com here.
 

Kat Stevens

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I just love how the teletubbies throw around words like "freedom loving peoples".  Like they'd know what the fuck that means.  They must be recycling some bad NVA and VC jargon.
 

callsign

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Until Pakistan's NWFP and surrounding areas are purged of Taliban, none of this will ever be accomplished.
 

daftandbarmy

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callsign said:
Until Pakistan's NWFP and surrounding areas are purged of Taliban, none of this will ever be accomplished.

Why purge them when you can hire one bunch to protect you from the others? Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer....
 
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