EU Australia Online - News & information from the capital of Europe direct to Australian businesses

NATO Plans to Meet Talibah Offensive

  • January 27th, 2007
  • Posted by 7thmin

nato-flags.jpgAn international meeting in Brussels has delivered support for an American initiative to step up the allied effort against the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan; but the fiull amount of support has yet to be told.

The unscheduled meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers – plus representatives of non-NATO countries fighting in Afghanistan, the World Bank and non-governmental agencies- had been called together by the American Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice.

Dr Rice told the gathering the United States would keep troops in Afghanistan on longer rotations, and spend an extra $US 10.5-billion on military and reconstruction programs- to help head off an expected Taliban offensive.

Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, Secretary General of The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, said Ministers had come forward with undertakings to increase overall financial commitments to Afghanistan, military forces and civil reconstruction work.

He said it had not been a pledging meeting, but he expected Defence Ministers meeting in a few weeks time would bring out details of the expanded effort.

The official NATO spokesperson, James Appathurai, said Ministers had agreed that allied forces going into Taliban territory, could expect a reaction.

“They were talking about an offensive, but it’s OUR offensive”, he said.

NATO commanders have been requesting that restrictions, so-called “caveats” on the use of some forces, mostly from European countries, be lifted, so that they can be sent anywhere needed in the country.

So far only part of the allied force, including soldiers from Australia, Britain, Canada and the United States, has been deployed in the South of Afghanistan, where Taliban military activity has been concentrated.

Picture: Flags at NATO headquarters, Brussels