15 February, 2007

President Bush on Afghanistan.

President George Bush has been addressing the American Enterprise Institute on the Global War on Terror. Click here for the full text of his remarks. The President referred to Iraq but the bulk of his remarks concerned Afghanistan, on which he outlined a five point strategy for NATO forces. The strategy is summarised here as:

  • increase the size and capabilities of the Afghan security forces;
  • strengthen NATO forces in Afghanistan;
  • improve provincial governance and help develop Afghanistan's rural economy;
  • reverse the increase in poppy cultivation that is aiding the Taliban;
  • fight corruption, especially in the judicial system.
With regard to NATO the president called on member states to provide more troops and to allow their troops to be deployed whenever and wherever, required by commanders on the ground.
For NATO to succeed, member nations must provide commanders on the ground with the troops and the equipment they need to do their jobs...

... when there is a need, when our commanders on the ground say to our respective countries, we need additional help, our NATO countries must provide it in order to be successful in this mission.

As well, allies must lift restrictions on the forces they do provide so NATO commanders have the flexibility they need to defeat the enemy wherever the enemy may make a stand. The alliance was founded on this principle: An attack on one is an attack on all. That principle holds true whether the attack is on the home soil of a NATO nation, or on allied forces deployed on a NATO mission abroad. By standing together in Afghanistan, NATO forces protect our own people, and they must have the flexibility and rules of engagement to be able to do their job.
I doubt he will meet with an enthusiastic response from our so-called allies in NATO.

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