Coalition forces ‘are fighting a lost cause against the Taliban’

November 14th, 2007 - 2:24 am ICT by admin  
According to a report published by the highly respected defence think-tank Chatham House, the NATO alliance is getting increasingly fractured.

It claims that British, American and other allied forces are ‘fighting a lost cause’ because they cannot stop the Taliban and Al Qaeda using neighbouring Pakistan as a safe haven, supply base and recruiting ground.

The Daily Mail quoted the Chathan House report as also saying that commanders on the ground are also crippled by a lack of troops and helicopters, forcing them to rely on air strikes that are causing more and more civilian casualties and destroying support among ordinary Afghans and around the world.

The Chatham House further study accuses the allies of failing to draw up a ‘coherent strategy’ combining counter-insurgency operations against the Taliban, counter-terrorism against Al Qaeda and reconstruction efforts to improve the poverty-stricken lives of ordinary Afghans.

It says that from the very start in 2001, the allied goals were confused and divided, with America favouring a quick invasion to topple the Taliban while European countries wanted more concentration on rebuilding and security.

Although the Taliban was toppled in the capital Kabul six years ago, the allies have failed to build on that success.

The report, written by Chatham House fellow Timo Noetzel and Sibylle Scheipers of Oxford University, claims NATO forces are now left trying to defeat the Taliban in combat while carrying out reconstruction, counter-narcotics operations and training Afghan police and Army all at the same time.

The study also accuses the West of failing to tackle tribal warlords and their links to Afghanistan’s massive heroin trade, as well as the Afghan government’s ‘evident linkages’ to the illegal trade.

However, British Defence Secretary Des Browne told the House of Commons on Tuesday that Afghanistan remained ‘a noble cause’ for the country.

Browne echoed the report’s concerns over NATO, saying that some European allies were ‘frankly quite disappointing’ in their contribution in Afghanistan. (ANI)

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