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NATO worried about Afghan war debate

NATO worried about Afghan war debate

NATO's top official said Wednesday he was worried about growing public skepticism about the war effort in Afghanistan, and urged the Afghan government to assume greater responsibility for issues ranging from security to good governance.
NATO's Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen expressed concern "that the public discourse on the effort in Afghanistan has started to go in the wrong direction" in remarks prepared for delivery at a military ceremony in Norfolk, Virginia later in the day.
"What we need is a clear step toward transition to Afghan leadership in all areas _ security, health, education, development and governance," he said.
The escalation of the war and rising allied casualties have sparked criticism in some NATO nations about the continued military commitment to a mission that originated as a peacekeeping operation after the ouster of the Taliban regime in 2001.
Critics point out that the deaths of civilians in NATO air strikes and allegations of ballot-box stuffing and massive fraud in the recent presidential elections are undermining the legitimacy of the Western-backed government in Kabul.
NATO contributes roughly two-thirds of the more than 100,000 international troops currently in Afghanistan.
Fogh Rasmussen said that although progress in the war has not been as fast as some had hoped, the situation on the battlefield was gradually improving.
"The Taliban have no chance of taking power again, nor do terrorists have any safe haven in Afghanistan from which to threaten the world," he said.
Fogh Rasmussen and other top NATO officials are attending a ceremony in Norfolk in which a French air force general will take over a key alliance command.
Gen. Stephane Abrial will become the first non-American officer to head a major command in North America in the alliance's 60-year history.
"The bottom line is this _ we need to show the Afghan people and the citizens of troop-contributing nations that we are getting somewhere," Fogh Rasmussen said. "If we were to walk away ... soon there will be terrorists in Afghanistan and attacking from Afghanistan, profound instability in Pakistan and in Central Asia."
"This is simply not a future we can allow to happen," he said.


Updated : 2021-10-18 05:16 GMT+08:00