Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Monday, July 28, 2008

"NATO general says partners have broken promises for Afghanistan," Monsters and Critics, July 27, 2008.

[Has NATO outlived its usefulness? Was it ever actually useful? -jlt]

Washington - During an inspection tour last week NATO General John Craddock accused member nations and leaders of broken promises in the ongoing effort to support the Afghan Army.

'As soon as we begin to set up troops we fall on our nose,' the Supreme Allied Commander for Europe told Financial Times Germany.

'My deputy writes letters, I call, he calls and I write,' Craddock said. 'I am frustrated about it.'

The four-star US general said his frustration is about the units promised to support the efforts of the Afghan army, in order to fight together against the Taliban and Al Qaida.

Craddock said 19 of 73 promised units of 25 to 30 soldiers strong have yet to arrive. The structure of the army relies on the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) for Afghanistan to win the war there.

A secret NATO document, which was revealed in Bucharest, establishes a correlation between the number of Afghan soldiers and a departure of NATO.

Craddock said he is frustrated with the NATO members at a time when the situation in Afghanistan is extremely explosive. In June for the first time more foreign soldiers were killed in Afghanistan than in Iraq. Of the 45 soldiers killed 27 were US troops and 13 British soldiers.

ISAF commanders have said the Taliban can only be defeated with more NATO troops.

Adding to the challenging task insurgent strategy has shifted away from military goals, to civilian. Roads built by the international community and public buildings are now frequent goals of attacks.

Craddock said he has no money for transportation. A shortage of money also obstructs shipment of supplies.

Helicopters from the Czech Republic for example are available for the Afghanistan, but Craddock said he had no money for delivery. He said he needed about 4.5 million Euros to complete transport, roughly the sum required to operate air-conditioning units at the Ministries of Defense for the summer.
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