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Will Afghanistan be graveyard of NATO alliance?


As public support for the Afghan war rapidly falls in NATO countries, the head of the alliance has stepped up efforts to keep member-states united.

On Thursday, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen spoke before a meeting with alliance defense ministers in Bratislava on a new approach against the widening Taliban insurgency.

“We all have to achieve more in training and equipping the Afghan security forces,” Rasmussen told a security conference before the ministers’ meeting in the Slovak capital, which is not expected to announce decisions on troop levels.

Meanwhile, Canada’s former top general has said that the setbacks in Afghanistan have greatly damaged NATO’s credibility.

Almost eight years on, a continued lack of focus and resolve in Afghanistan will be NATO’s undoing, retired general and former Canadian chief of defense staff Rick Hillier warned in a new book.

Hillier wrote in his autobiography, to be published next week, that “Afghanistan has revealed that NATO has reached the stage where it is a corpse, decomposing” and in need of “lifesaving” otherwise “the alliance will be done.”

He said the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is vulnerable to “any major setback” in Afghanistan and faces extinction unless it can “snatch victory out of feeble efforts.”

In the book, “A Soldier First: Bullets, Bureaucrats and the Politics of War,” Hillier says no Western country had predicted an Afghan resurgence following the early success of the US invasion in 2001.

When Hillier took command of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) years later, “It was crystal clear from the start that there was no strategy for the mission in Afghanistan,” he wrote.

“NATO had started down a road that destroyed much of its credibility and in the end eroded support for the mission in every nation in the alliance. Sadly years later, that situation remains unchanged,” Hillier wrote.

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