News / Asia

NATO's Afghan Strategy Taking Longer than Expected

Multimedia

Audio
Jennifer Glasse

The head of NATO forces in Afghanistan General Stanley McChrystal says the effort to assert control over the key southern city of Kandahar will take longer than anticipated, as Afghan and international troops and officials encounter challenges as they work to establish security and convince local people to support the Afghan government rather than the Taliban.  

American Lieutenant General William Caldwell started NATO's training mission in Afghanistan six months ago, and while there has been progress in training the army and police, Caldwell says there have been many lessons.

"The biggest lesson I think as we all know, nothing happens as fast as we would like it to happen," said General Caldwell.

Caldwell was brought in as part of General Stanley McChrystal's Afghan Strategy which focuses on winning the trust of the population. Caldwell says Afghan security forces must show they are trustworthy.

"The way you really win over the people is by your demonstrated actions, out there operating among them and that comes from a professionalized force," he added.

Building a professionalized force has been fraught with challenges – Caldwell says the biggest one is illiteracy – the vast majority of police and army recruits can not read or write. That means getting the forces up to standards will take time.

"When somebody says to me when do you think you'll really see the professionalization of the police and the army and the air corps, my response is probably not until next year," General Caldwell said.

U.S. President Barack Obama has set July, 2011 as a date to begin what is expected to be a very gradual withdrawal of American troops, and a transfer of security responsibility to the Afghan forces. Right now thousands of U.S. forces continue to pour into the country, mainly into the South, in an effort to establish enough security for that to happen.

But British Major General Nick Carter heads NATO forces in Southern Afghanistan. He says the solution isn't just a military one.

"This problem is very much a political problem and the old Clausewitzian dictum (Clausewitz was a Prussian soldier and military theorist) that war is an extension of politics by other means is reversed in Afghanistan, Politics is really an extension of war by other means," said Major General Nick Carter. "And that's because governance has to be the determining criteria with all of this."

Carter says the plan on paper at least is simple.

"What we're trying to do is to connect the Afghan population to its government," Major General Nick Carter said. "We do that through having more representative, transparent and inclusive government, and we do it by having the security fully in support of Afghan government."

But NATO is not in charge of the Afghan government, it works alongside it. And critics say one of the biggest challenges to success in Afghanistan is that NATO is perceived by the people to be propping up local leaders widely seen as corrupt.

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid