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

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book 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.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs