News / Asia

Afghanistan Looms Large on NATO Agenda

U.S. troops assess the damage to an armored vehicle of NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) at the site of a suicide attack in Jalalabad province, Afghanistan, Aug. 24, 2014.
U.S. troops assess the damage to an armored vehicle of NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) at the site of a suicide attack in Jalalabad province, Afghanistan, Aug. 24, 2014.

As the 28 members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) are preparing for their summit meeting in Wales next week, its role in Afghanistan looms large on the agenda.
 
NATO has been operating in Afghanistan since 2003, leading a 44,000-member U.N.-mandated contingent known as the “International Security Assistance Force.”
 
NATO has three missions in Afghanistan.
 
The first is to assist the Afghan government in its efforts to rebuild and stabilize the country.  The second is to train the Afghan army and police.  And the third mission is to hunt down and eliminate insurgents in southern Afghanistan, stronghold of the Taliban which was ousted from power by a U.S.-led coalition in 2001.
 
NATO'S combat mission ending
 
But NATO’s combat mission in Afghanistan ends in a few months.
 
Retired Admiral James Stavridis, former Supreme Allied Commander at NATO, said the NATO summit will tackle the question: what next?
 
“How we shift the mission from the ‘Operation Enduring Freedom’ to the ‘Resolute Support’ mission - much smaller, about 15,000 troops, 10,000 U.S., about 5,000 Europeans - who will remain to train and work with the Afghan national security forces,” said Stavridis, who is dean of the Fletcher School.
 
Stavridis is cautiously optimistic about Afghanistan’s future.  He said there are some positive signs, including a growing economy and the fact that more than 300,000 Afghan security forces have already been trained by NATO.
 
“Don’t mistake my cautious optimism for a sense that everything is perfect,” he said. “There are enormous problems with corruption, with narcotics, with neighbors who create disturbances - both Iran and Pakistan - so there are many challenges.”
 
Defense spending slashed
 
Another issue facing the NATO leaders is burden-sharing when it comes to defense spending.  For years, the United States has urged European nations to spend more on defense but with little success.
 
Ohio Wesleyan University NATO expert Sean Kay said European governments were slashing defense budgets at a time Washington urged them to increase those expenditures.
 
“Americans tend to lecture the European allies that they should spend more on defense, but on the other hand we provide the basic military architecture for NATO,” he said. “ For example, we went to war in Libya, the idea was to get the allies out front through NATO, but the United States had to provide the primary enabling forces for the military operation.”
 
Kay said the Europeans know the United States will take care of any defense spending shortfall.
 
“So the question then is not how we can work in NATO to get more spending out of the allies, because given the eurozone crisis that’s just not realistic.  The real emphasis needs to be on how do we work with the allies to get them to better pool their existing capabilities so that they can be out front providing for the primary role in the peripheral conflicts that challenge Europe today,” he said.
 
No new NATO members
 
Experts say one issue the NATO summit will not address is enlarging the alliance.
 
“It is fair to say that it is a flat proposition at the moment which means that I don’t see any near-term candidates.  Probably the closest to in the queue would be Montenegro, a very small nation and perhaps Macedonia if they can overcome the name dispute they have with Greece,” Stavridis said.
 
In 2009, Albania and Croatia became the last two countries to join NATO.


Andre de Nesnera

Andre de Nesnera is senior analyst at the Voice of America, where he has reported on international affairs for more than three decades. Now serving in Washington D.C., he was previously senior European correspondent based in London, established VOA’s Geneva bureau in 1984 and in 1989 was the first VOA correspondent permanently accredited in the Soviet Union.

You May Like

Will Cuba Follow the Southeast Asia Model?

Decision to restore ties between US and Cuba has some debating whether it will lead to enhancement or regression of democracy for Communist island nation More

Kenyan Designer Finds Her Niche in Fashion Industry

‘Made in China’ fabrics underlie her success More

Report: CIA, Israel's Mossad Killed Senior Hezbollah Commander

The Washington Post story says Imad Mughniyah was killed instantly by a bomb "triggered remotely" from Tel Aviv by Mossad agents More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: AGUS MULYANI from: PEKANBARU, INDONESIA
August 28, 2014 3:42 AM
may be NATO agenda in Afganishtan can support US army but we can see NATO programs for save Afganishtan

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Lateri
X
Deborah Block
January 31, 2015 12:12 AM
Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid