'Prolonging the war is no solution for Afghanistan'

21 July 2010

'Prolonging the war is no solution for Afghanistan'

“NATO Secretary-General Rasmussen has learnt nothing from the mistakes which have been made in the war in Afghanistan.” This was SP leader Emile Roemer's reaction to Anders Fogh Rasmussen's announcement that the war would be pursued with greater intensity. In the Afghan provinces of Helmand and Kandahar, major attacks would be carried out and the NATO chief acknowledged that these would cost many lives. “The ground is being prepared for the addition of a bloody round to the war," says Roemer. That is a disastrous path.”

Emile Roemer NATO continues to hold the hand of the corrupt Karzai government. Corruption has been encouraged by a prolonged and intensified war conducted by foreign troops. The Karzai government's support rests to a large extent on ex-war criminals and warlords who have little time for principles of justice or good governance. “To defend Karzai as if he were a friend with clean hands is to mislead both the people of Afghanistan and the citizens of the Netherlands.”

At a conference held in Kabul today it was proposed that more Afghan soldiers be trained so that in the near future they might be deployed against the Taliban, but the opinions expressed by Rasmussen do not appear to involve the removal of foreign armed forces. On the contrary, they will have to stay for a still unknown length of time, the aim being for them to lead the Afghan troops in the struggle against the Taliban.

Roemer sees in the continuing presence of foreign troops "a violent path which can only lead to more bloodshed." In his opinion the only thing that would help would be the complete withdrawal of all foreign armed forces. The Netherlands should not stop at withdrawing troops from Uruzgan as is currently under way, but also remove its F16 fighter planes from Kandahar and general staff from Kabul. Only then would it make sense to hold negotiations on the future of Afghanistan with all interested parties, including neighbouring countries. “If we continue as the Kabul conference appears to prescribe then things will go from bad to worse," Roemer concludes.

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