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

Will Cuba Follow the Southeast Asia Model?

Decision to restore ties between US and Cuba has some debating whether it will lead to an enhancement or regression of democracy on the 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.
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.
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