Spain seeks new anti-terror strategy in Afghanistan

November 18th, 2008 - 1:38 pm ICT by IANS  

TalibanMadrid, Nov 18 (IANS) Spain has called for a new strategy to defeat Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan where some 800 Spanish soldiers as part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) are fighting the rebels, EFE reported Tuesday.Reporting to parliament’s defence committee, Defence Minister Carme Chacon said a solution to Afghan insurgency would require more than military action, warning that the situation in the central Asian country constitutes “a global threat”.

She was briefing the committee about the death of two Spanish soldiers Nov 9 in an attack by Afghan insurgents.

Chacon said Afghan security forces need to assume a greater role in ensuring law and order, there must be greater coordination under UN leadership, civilian casualties must be avoided at all costs, neighbouring countries like Pakistan must be more involved in bringing stability to the country and more pressure must be brought to bear on the government in Kabul.

“Abandoning Afghanistan would result in a return to power of the Taliban and civil war, as well as an increase in organized crime, drug trafficking and international terrorism,” Chacon said.

She referred to “regrettable (military) mistakes” - civilian deaths in US airstrikes in the trouble-torn country that have led to a drop in support for the ISAF.

Spain last week rejected a proposal to send more troops to Afghanistan, saying that the deaths of the two soldiers in the Nov 9 suicide attack “have made clear Spain’s commitment” to the South Asian country.

“The debate should not be over sending more troops, it should be about how to carry out a political-military development strategy that will end an unstable situation,” Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos had said in Brussels before a meeting of the European Union ministers.

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