Aug 07 2009
NATO’s new Secretary General leave no room for confusion. We’re in to win in Afghanistan.
From the LA Times: “I’m not in favor of setting timelines,” new NATO head and former Danish premier Anders Fogh Rasmussen told a press conference at North Atlantic Treaty Organization headquarters in Brussels today. “Let no Taliban propagandist try to sell my message as a run for the exits. It is not. We will support the Afghan people for as long as it takes.”
… which makes headlines like “Nato Boss urges talks with the Taliban” from the Globe and Mail seem at least a little misleading
The only thing the Globe reports about Rasmussen is that “he would support dialogue with moderates within the Taliban” — meaning those Taliban recruited for a few dollars a day from among the throngs of unemployed youth, who have no real attachment to the cause. Afghanistan has already been disarming and demobilizing these kind of Taliban for years. Nothing new here.
But Rasmussen’s commitment reminds us that Canadian leaders need to start talking seriously about what happens after 2011.
We’ve sacrificed much already to help Afghanistan transition from a failed state harboring Al Queda into a fragile new democracy struggling in a dangerous neighborhood. The country faces huge challenges, the Taliban’s violence being only the most visible one. We should remain committed to Afghanistan’s development to help reinforce the gains made thus far.
That doesn’t mean letting our other NATO allies off the hook — we can certainly look at how and where our military assets are deployed in the field. But in the big picture, it makes perfect sense for Canadian development aid efforts to be safeguarded by Canadian soldiers.