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NATO To Try Amended Afghan Strategy

  • April 5th, 2009
  • Posted by EUEditor

nato-council.jpgThe NATO partners have signed on to a revised doctrine for confronting the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan, emphasising a build-up of the Afghan army and police, more civil reconstruction work,  and bringing neighbouring countries into a drive for settlement of the conflict.

On a fourth point, building up forces under NATO command in  Afghanistan, the European allies have promised limited reinforcements  — in the area of 5000 extra troops – to help during the elections period there, this year.

Talks over forces are bound to continue.


Heads of Government of the 28 members of the North Atlantic Alliance met at Strasbough-Kehl for the 60th anniversary summit of the North Atlantic alliance.

The former cold war military bloc has developed into a security force which took on the military side of a United Nations commitment in Afghanistan, looking to prevent the harbouring of terrorist groups there.

Its summit has included representatives of non-member governments associated with NATO in the fighting, such as the Australia Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd.

The Heads of government spelt out the lines of future commitment as part of a general communique.

It says in part:

“Afghan ownership remains crucial for sustained progress. Strong constructive engagement by countries of the region is also critical and, to this end, we pledge to reinforce our cooperation with all Afghanistan’s neighbours, especially Pakistan. We encourage further cooperation between Afghanistan and Pakistan….”


The following is an extract from a separate Summit declaration on Afghanistan.

“Success requires a stronger regional approach that involves all Afghanistan’s neighbours and, as this is not a purely military endeavour, greater civilian resources…

“We continue to make progress. The Government of Afghanistan is taking on greater responsibility and increasing its capabilities…An ever more capable Afghan National Army now participates in over 80% of ISAF * operations, taking the lead in half of them.

“We recognise the UN’s coordinating role over international civilian activities and the need to further improve the coherence of all civilian and military efforts … We are boosting our efforts to coordinate the contribution of Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRT) to build stability and further align their work with Afghan Government priorities.

“We have improved our measures, in concert with Afghan authorities, to prevent civilian casualties and to respond appropriately when they regrettably do occur.

“We will continue our efforts in this regard. We are increasing operations in support of Afghan Counter Narcotics activities.

“We recognize that extremists in Pakistan especially in western areas and insurgency in Afghanistan undermine security and stability in both countries and that the problems are deeply intertwined… We have supported enhanced military-to-military coordination and improved high-level engagement with both governments. We have reinvigorated dialogue to address cross-border security.

“Serious challenges remain. Despite significant improvements, insecurity, persistent corruption and the uneven provision of good governance need to be addressed together.

“We face a ruthless opponent that has a reckless disregard for human life and directly targets civilians. ISAF will do its part to help tackle these threats to Afghanistan’s long-term stability.

“We will address urgently ISAF’s remaining shortfalls and provide our commanders with the maximum possible operational flexibility for the use of our forces.

“We must continue, with the Afghan government, to counter extremist propaganda and better communicate our goals, challenges and achievements.

“As an expression of our commitment to Afghanistan, we have agreed to:
•    establish a NATO Training Mission – Afghanistan (NTM-A) within ISAF to oversee higher level training for the Afghan National Army, and training and mentoring for the Afghan National Police, capitalising on existing structures and synergies in close coordination with the International Police Coordination Board.
We welcome current initiatives in support of the shared objective of training and mentoring the Afghan National Police. The European Gendarmerie Force (EGF) could play an active role in this regard;
•    provide more trainers and mentors in support of the Afghan National Police. In this regard we underline the importance of other efforts in this field such as the training activities conducted by the European Union police mission in Afghanistan (EUPOL);
•    assist and support the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) secure the upcoming electoral process by temporarily deploying the necessary election support forces;
•    provide operational mentoring and liaison teams (OMLT) in support of the progressive enlargement of the Afghan National Army to its current target of 134,000;
•    expand the role of the Afghan National Army Trust Fund to include sustainment costs. We welcome initial contributions offered and encourage new contributions from the International Community;
•    further develop the evolving long term relationship between NATO and Afghanistan;
•    encourage and support the strengthening of Afghan and Pakistani government cooperation; and build a broader political and practical relationship between NATO and Pakistan;
•    further support the Government of Afghanistan and the UN in the development of the Integrated Approach to strengthen synchronised civil-military efforts across Afghanistan;
•    encourage all nations to contribute to the UN election support fund; and
•    further develop our engagement with all Afghanistan’s neighbours in support of long term regional security and good relations.”

* ISAF, International Security Assistance Force, the NATO-led military formation in Afghanistan, which includes non-NATO allies such as Australia.


For the Strasbourg-Kehl Summit Declaration (4.4.09), and the Summit Declaration on Afghanistan (4.4.09), see NATO media, on line:, (5.4.09).