Progress or stagnation in Afghanistan ?

Posted in Broader Middle East | 26-May-04 | Author: Dieter Farwick

Afghanistan embedded in the"Greater Middle East".

We have covered the situation in Afghanistan several times in our weekly WSN Newsletter. You might recall our interviews with the first NATO commander in Afghanistan, the German Lieutenant General Götz Gliemeroth. We continue to be interested in how things evolve there because the developments in Afghanistan are decisive for the future of the whole region of the “Greater Middle East”.

We are glad to offer you now a report from the ground. Colonel (ret.) Konrad Freytag went recently to Afghanistan to observe first-hand the progress with stabilizing the country. He was able to conduct interviews with three key military commanders from three different countries with three different perspectives.

The first interview is with the German Colonel Reinhard Kuhn, commander of the NATO Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Konduz. Colonel Kuhn offers a close look at the progress with “nation building,” this relatively new tool in the strategic security arsenal. Colonel Kuhn is very confident that the PRT’s concept of a “broad approach to security and stability” will pay-off and bring success for Afghanistan’s reconstruction.

How could this effort be supported? For the purpose of “unity of command” all PRT should come under command and control of NATO HQ. Participating nations should give the PRTs and the ISAF troops the resources they need.

The second interview offers some insight from NATO’s top commander for the International Security Assistance Force(ISAF). Canadian Army Lieutenant General Rick Hillier. General Hillier is assessing the situation in Kabul and the entire country.

His message: “There is progressstep by step” and there is the requirement for a continuous international commitment.

I learned from NATO sources that some nations have still to deliver what they offered and promised in the Force Generation Process.

The third interview takes us to the second commander of “Operation Enduring Freedom”, US Army Major General Eric T. Olson. The commander is quite optimistic about the diminishing influence and strength of the Taliban. He also touches on an important issue: to continue two international operations with two different headquarters or to hand-over the responsibility of both operations in Afghanistan to NATO- led multinational command.

In my view that’s an interesting proposal for political and military reasons.