NATO leader slams Afghan government

January 18, 2009

NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer has attacked the Afghan government over its failure to tackle corruption and inefficiency, saying that “the basic problem in Afghanistan is not too much Taliban; it’s too little good governance”.

In a strongly worded op-ed in the Washington Post, he says people in countries that have contributed troops to the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan are wondering how long its operation must last, “and how many young men and women we will lose carrying it out”.

“Afghans need a government that deserves their loyalty and trust; when they have it, the oxygen will be sucked away from the insurgency,” he says. “The international community must step up its support of the elected government, and, through it, the Afghan people. But we have paid enough, in blood and treasure, to demand that the Afghan government take more concrete and vigorous action to root out corruption and increase efficiency, even where that means difficult political choices.”

The comments appear to reflect increasing frustration with the government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai and come as President-elect Barack Obama prepares to send up to 30,000 additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan to try to stabilise the country.  Other NATO members are expected to come under pressure to match the higher U.S. troop presence with greater commitments of their own.

As discussed in an earlier post, more troops means more casualties, not just because of the rise in numbers, but because of a perceived need for them to spread out among the population, using manpower rather than firepower to win over Afghans who have been alienated by civilian deaths.  That may prove hard to sell to sceptical Western populations already questioning their governments’ policies towards Afghanistan seven years after 9/11. (For an interesting round-up of articles and blogs, this website put together by those opposed to sending more troops is worth looking at.)

De Hoop Scheffer  — who calls for a regional approach to Afghanistan incorporating Pakistan and India —  says the cost of failure in Afghanistan would be “instability in a highly unstable region; a haven for international terrorism; and massive suffering for the Afghan people”.  So given the challenges he outlines in his op-ed, what is the cost of success?

(Reuters file photos from Taloqan in Afghanistan)


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No price is too high for peace.

Afghanistan has suffered for too long, time the world stepped up specially China, India and Russia.

It was encouraging to read the line
“the oxygen will be sucked away from the insurgency”

Posted by belligerent | Report as abusive

I agree with NATO Secretary General. However, I will add one comment, “Afghanistan need to control its own drug Mafia before blaming others.”

Posted by Truth | Report as abusive

The key to success in Afghanistan lies with Pakistan. The comments by NATO Secretary General amply prove that Afghan government itself, including drug lords on looting spree are responsible for miseries of Afghan people. The viable solution of Afghan problem can only be achieved through active participation of China, Russia and Pakistan…. and keeping India out.The only Indian participation should be to wind up its shoddy consulates from Pakistan-Afghan border and seek honest solution of Kashmir issue as per UN Resolutions. This will end the raison d’être for so-called Jihadi elements the world over.

Posted by Shaamyl | Report as abusive

wake up buddy if you think that kashmir is the root cause of Jihad. 9/11 didn’t happen because of Kashmir, so does london, Bali and Madrid bombing.
The key to success in Afghanistan does lie with Pakistan because she is the puppet master of all terrorists operating in Afghanistan and India.

I agree that there should not be any corruption in Afghanistan but then corruption is a reality in most of the world and so is in south asia.
Afghans need to keep faith in the democratic system and should vent out anger though the democratic channels like through their power of vote. But for such a environment to develop Pak has to stop meddling in Afghani affairs.

Posted by chirkut | Report as abusive

Someone’s got to tell Mr. Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, that he & NATO are not god sent to solve the problems of the Afghans,some twisted logic , does he means to say that if any country is facing governance or corruption issues, then it’s NATO divine calling to invade it & force it to adhere to their diktats & norms of governance?
Interestingly he points out – “While the country’s north and west are largely at peace and improving, the south and east are riven by insurgency, drugs and ineffective government. Afghans are increasingly frustrated by the lack of progress in building up their country.” – isn’t that the Pakistani side?
Further the contradiction—“we are obliged to keep ramping up the military operation partly because of –insufficient resources and coordination on the ‘civilian’ side.”
“There is a general perception in the West that Afghans do not want foreign soldiers on their territory. In fact, polls find that more than 70 percent support the NATO mission.”
“Afghans need a government that deserves their loyalty and trust;”
—Simply ensure free & fair elections & go back home St. Scheffer.

Posted by Anup | Report as abusive

To read more about Pakistan related development s and the regional in general, please visit

Posted by Sikander Hayat | Report as abusive

Excuse of “Stabalizing a country” is the best way of continous occupation of it. We have seen this so called “stabalization” failed in Somalia, Iraq and Palestine.

The only destabilzation factor in Afghanistan is occupation. Order will esteblish as soon as Occopation forces leave. Large Western parts of Pakistan are now under Taliban control after 8 yrs of nato misadventure in Afghanistan and Pakistan govt choice to side with West instead of remaing neutral in the conflict has cost Paksitan dearly. Now moderate Pakistanis can not enter in Taliban controlled areas in Pakistan. In Pakistan still moderate Muslims have upper hand however this continued occoupation of Afghanistan will only strengthen Taliban in Pakistan.

Posted by Agthagola | Report as abusive

“Afghanistan need to control its own drug Mafia before blaming others.”
— Be careful, Dawood Ibrahim will hunt you for saying the Truth… lol
It’s not Afghans benefiting from Drugs, It’s Pakistan / Taleban instead.

Posted by Blogger | Report as abusive


Could you start a new blog on the following new report. 39265.stm

Posted by belligerent | Report as abusive

How does Afghan solutions lie in Pakistan? Is the corrupt and ineffective Afghan govt made up of Pakistanis? Are the Afghan drug mafias based in Pakistan? Is the Taliban an Afghan group or a Pakistani group?

Afghanistan needs to put its own house in order.

Posted by Bangash Khan | Report as abusive

Bangash Khan

The Taliban is a Pakistani Punjabi group, clandestinely run by the ISI…

Posted by Anup | Report as abusive