Afghanistan represents undoubtedly one of the greatest challenges for the Western democracies. The reversal of the Taliban by the international coalition led by the United States after the 9/11 terrorist attacks was seen as a symbol of hope. This war was considered as legitimate, because of the atrocities committed by the fundamentalists (violations of human rights and treatment of women), their protection of Al-Qaeda leaders, the unanimous consent of the international community and the approval of the Security Council ("Recognizing the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense in accordance with the Charter"). The "rebuilding" of this country which had faced years of civil wars (jihad against the communist regime of Nazibullah supported by the Soviet Union in the 1980s, and civil war in the 1990s until 2001, especially between the Taliban and the Northern Alliance in 1994-2001). Five years after the fall of the Taliban, Afghanistan remains a subject of great concern for the Americans and the Europeans.
[...] Variety and conflicts of strategies between the allies One of the main limits to the efficiency of the transatlantic cooperation is the lack of coherence of the strategies adopted by the various members of the coalition. Those strategies were sometimes very different, and even in conflict with one another In the area of security, one of the best examples is probably the restrictions that have been put by member states over the tasks their national contingents may undertake in Afghanistan, the so-called caveats. Some countries such as France and Germany have sent troops that are responsible for the security of the northern part of Afghanistan (Kabul, Panshir Valley), which is relatively quiet and peaceful. [...]
[...] Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns, Challenges and Opportunities Facing the Transatlantic Community, Speech at Center for European Policy Studies, Brussels (Belgium), March 26th 2007. Helen Thomas, “Once Opposed, Bush Begins Nation Building,” ABC - The Boston Channel, (online) available at http://www.thebostonchannel.com/helenthomas/2117601/detail.html (Internet, accessed on April 29th 2007). Parliamentary Assembly of the Western European Union, New Challenges for Transatlantic Security Cooperation, Document A/1877, December 2004, paragraphs 63-78. The World Bank Group, Afghanistan Data and Statistics Country Profile, (online) available at: http://devdata.worldbank.org/external/CPProfile.asp?SelectedCountry=afg&CCOD E=afg&CNAME=afghanistan&PTYPE=CP (Internet, accessed on May 1st 2007). [...]
[...] The coalition has thus the responsibility of the “creation” of a whole economic system that is required for a transition towards a licit, prosperous and sustainable economy. The needs are important in terms of infrastructure (roads to create a national market), education, financial system (as an alternative to the traditional salaam, a lending system used by opium producers) and incentives not to grow poppies. Eradication should be seen as a last resort threat and punishment rather than the key element of persuasion. [...]
[...] The nation-building mission (that President Bush criticized in his 2000 campaign) is very difficult: the coalition has to reconcile tribes and warlords that have been fighting each other for years. The coalition helped the Tajiks (Northern Alliance) and Uzbeks (General Dostum), whereas the Taliban came from the largest ethnic group, the Pashtuns. It was therefore difficult to organize a “national government” with a fair representation. The coalition supported Ahmid Karzai, a moderate Pashtun but his authority is not respected outside Kabul: even the Pashtuns consider him as man imposed by the Americans”, and the Northern Alliance which considers itself as the real winner of the civil war (as they took Kabul before the international coalition), still believes that Ahmed Shah Massud is the most respectable Afghan leader. [...]
[...] * Burns, Nicholas (Undersecretary of State), Challenges and Opportunities Facing the Transatlantic Community, Speech at Center for European Policy Studies, Brussels (Belgium), March 26th 2007. * European Commission External Relations Directorate, “Afghanistan: How EU support is making a real difference,” Press Release, September 8th 2005. * Koenigs, Tom, The Situation in Afghanistan: A Discussion with UN Special Representative of the Secretary General for Afghanistan Tom Koenigs, March 21st available at the US Institute of Peace's website, url: http://www.usip.org/events/2007/0321_koenings.html/. * Norton-Taylor, Richard, “Full Interview: General David Richards, NATO Commander in Afghanistan”, The Guardian, January 22nd 2007. [...]
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