War in Afghanistan has not made good on promises

28 May 2012

War in Afghanistan has not made good on promises

'When NATO, more than a decade ago, began to intervene in Iran, the organisation raised high expectations over the country’s future. Now the military mission is being run down, we can only conclude that these expectations have not been met.’ This was the conclusion of SP Senator Arjan Vliegenthart at the close of today’s NATO Parliamentary Assembly meeting in Tallinn, Estonia.

Arjan VliegenthartDuring the meeting broad discussions took place on Afghanistan’s future. Now that it has been agreed that NATO troops will leave Afghanistan in 2014, the big question concerns the condition in which the Western forces have left the country. Jorrit Kamminga, research director of the International Council on Security and Development, concluded that there are today more problems with the drug trade than there were in 2002. NATO rapporteur Sven Mikser stated in addition that the Taliban were the de facto government in many different parts of the country and had taken over the administration of justice from the actual Afghan government, which as a result of the high level of corruption had acquired a bad reputation in the eyes of many ordinary Afghans.

Senator Vliegenthart describes the discussions as gloomy: 'Despite the rhetoric, the situation in the last few years has not improved. Corruption and the lack of any prospect of a better future which the Afghans themselves could shape make the outlook certainly less than rosy. That does not release us from the responsibility to continue to work for sustainable development in Afghanistan. But we can only conclude that the war has been a failure.'
In addition to the discussion on the future of Afghanistan, there was a debate on the consequences of the economic and financial crisis for NATO member states’ defence spending, which almost all countries are reducing. In Vliegenthart’s view this is a correct choice. 'Because of the crisis everyone has to make sacrifices, so it’s only logical that defence should also make a contribution,’ he says.

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