Posted: Tue Nov 28, 2006 8:02 am Post subject: NATO chief sees handover to Afghan troops in 2008
RIGA (Reuters) - NATO forces should be able to hand over responsibility to Afghanistan's security forces gradually in 2008, the alliance's secretary-general said on Tuesday.
Jaap de Hoop Scheffer gave a glimpse of NATO's exit strategy from its most dangerous combat mission in speech to a security conference hours before the start of a summit of alliance leaders in Latvia.
"I would hope that by 2008, we will have made considerable progress ... and effective and trusted Afghan security forces gradually taking control," he told the Riga Conference, appealing to allies to provide more troops with fewer national restrictions on their use in the meantime.
Stephen Harper is in Latvia for the NATO conference in which Canada and the US will press allies to lessen restrictions on their troops. Current restrictions imposed by some EU allies on their armed forces keep soldiers in the safer northern and western parts of Afghanistan.
Scheffer says 2008 will mark the starting point of a NATO handover. Now that's an interesting development.
Joined: 20 Oct 2006
Location: Northern British Columbia
Posted: Tue Nov 28, 2006 3:59 pm Post subject:
The "cut and run" crowd would have us abandon the Afghan people to the tender mercy of the Taliban. A country such as Canada blessed with wealth and a people willing to share the burden cannot and should not ignore the opportunity to bring peace to a very troubled area of the world which has seen little peace in the past 30 years. The three D plan I have seen put forward at the beginning of the Afghan mission seemed to be the right idea at the right time. Even if it takes us a entire generation of effort it will truly show those whom put action to words versus those who talk a lot i.e Jack Layton. The Afghan people may be able to assume some of the responsiblity for their own defence in the near future, but Canada should make clear to all parties involved friends and foes we are not leaving until the job is done. The ability to solve all the worlds problems may not always be possible, but we can solve them one at a time with the willpower and desire to see the right thing done. Canada's limited population base prevents us from having the manpower to be everywhere at once, but nothing should stop us from concentrating on one issue at a time. If something else like Darfur comes to the fore where the hell is the rest of the world?
RIGA, Latvia -- A handful of NATO countries offered minor concessions on Afghanistan yesterday, suggesting they'll allow their troops to reinforce the Canadian contingent in Kandahar in emergencies.
But the definition of "emergency" remained unclear as quibbling alliance leaders held a closed-door working dinner last night at their summit in the former Soviet republic of Latvia.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper addressed the leaders, telling them Afghanistan was not just "a priority" for NATO -- it was "the priority," a senior government official said.
Earlier in the day, Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay cautioned the discussion among NATO members was not over, and he was hopeful high-level talks would produce some relief for Canada's military forces.
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