Sunday, December 28, 2014

NATO Changeover

From the BBC:
"NATO marks transition to new Afghanistan mission"

Nato has formally ended its 13-year combat mission in Afghanistan - heralding the start of a new phase of support for local Afghan troops. Commanders lowered the flag during a ceremony in Kabul - raising the flag of the new mission named Resolute Support. "We have lifted the Afghan people out of the darkness of despair and given them hope for the future," mission commander Gen John Campbell said. Nato's Afghan deployment began after the 9/11 attacks against the US. From 1 January the alliance's role will shift to a mainly training and support mission for the Afghan army.
Sunday's ceremony was low-key - held inside a gymnasium at the alliance headquarters away from the public.  A military band played as the flag of the International Security and Assistance Force (Isaf) was lowered in the presence of senior military personnel from both sides.   Unfurling the new flag, Gen Campbell said the mission "will serve as the bedrock of an enduring partnership" between Nato and Afghanistan. "We honour coalition and Afghan fallen in this mighty struggle, those who paid the price for Afghanistan's freedom," he said, adding: "The road before us remains challenging but we will triumph." At its peak, the US-led Isaf deployment involved more than 130,000 personnel from 50 countries. But from 1 January, it will bring together around 12,000 men and women from Nato allies and 14 partner nations. "The security of Afghanistan will be fully in the hands of the country's 350,000 Afghan soldiers and police. But Nato allies, together with many partner nations, will remain to train, advise and assist them," said Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in a statement. More than a decade after this long and expensive mission began, the Taliban are still active and gaining in strength, launching a number of attacks in recent months, says the BBC's Sanjoy Majumder in Kabul. This year has been the bloodiest in Afghanistan since 2001, with at least 4,600 members of the Afghan security forces dying in the fight against the Taliban. It underscores the challenges that lie ahead of the Afghan security forces, our correspondent says. Nearly 3,500 foreign troops have been killed since the beginning of the Nato mission.

^ I am not sure the world is safer after these 13 years. I do not fault the men and women of the NATO militaries (especially those that were wounded or killed) but the government officials of those countries for not doing what was really needed. Having soldiers on the ground is not enough. You need to have the will-power to do what is necessary to destroy the threat (ie the Taliban) and that wasn't done. Afghanistan is just going to crumble back into the poor, sad existence it had before. I'm sure another civil war will occur between the Taliban and Afghani Government and the Taliban will probably win again. While the Afghani Government and military did nothing during the last 13 years except criticize the US and other Western countries and blame us for their country's problems while they (the Afghanis) got rich and power-hungry from bribes. There are two things I hope do not occur with this change-over: 1) I hope no US or NATO soldier gets killed and 2) I hope ISIS, Taliban or any other Muslim extremist group gains a foot-hold that will then be able to hurt other countries. ^

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