Australia has a new Minister for Defence and he does not seem happy with what he finds in relation to what was thought to be the more successful of Australian troop deployments. This follows on arguments over the deployment of some NATO contingents.
"Afghan war being botched": minister
Jonathan Pearlman February 15, 2008
THE Defence Minister, Joel Fitzgibbon, has denounced the handling of the war in Afghanistan and says the allies are disunited, lack a clear plan and have failed to deal with the drug trade.
In a scathing assessment of the progress of the war, Mr Fitzgibbon yesterday laid out a string of failures and warned that a new strategy was required to ensure the Australian contribution was not "for nil".
"No coherent strategy, confused chains of command and blurred lines of responsibility, a failing counter-narcotics strategy, the absence of benchmarks for progress, a crisis in burden sharing, with a number of NATO countries failing to meet or live up to their side of the bargain - and poor progress in advancing Afghan security forces towards the critical mass in skill required for them to be able to hold our military gains."
He referred to recent comments by the British politician and diplomat Paddy Ashdown, who this week said the NATO-led forces were in disarray and "defeat is now a real possibility".
"What an ominous development it would be for global security and for the Afghan people. What a tragedy it would be if all the good work done so far in the end were to count for nought.""
After the debacle over the proposed Ashdown appointment this is perhaps not surprising. There is a considerable amount in the article about the heroin production. The whole Afghanistan venture seems to be in danger of collapse as more parties complain of a lack of planning.
With Pakistan looking to be more unstable every day, Afghanistan is not going to get any easier in the near future.