From Agence France Presse posted at CommonDreams:
MUNICH, Germany – The United States warned its allies Sunday that fighting the insurgency in Afghanistan could prove tougher than in Iraq and appealed, along with Britain, for more troops and equipment.
US ambassador Richard Holbrooke insisted that a new approach was required to turn the strife-torn country around, involving all of Afghanistan’s neighbours and in particular Pakistan.
“It is like no other problem we have confronted, and in my view it’s going to be much tougher than Iraq,” he said at an international security conference in Germany. “It is going to be a long, difficult struggle.”
Holbrooke, who is to embark on a regional tour soon, said that the administration of President Barack Obama was reviewing the best way to tackle the Taliban-led insurgency.
“What is required in my view is new ideas, better coordination within the US government, better coordination with our NATO allies and other concerned countries, and the time to get it right,” he said.
Countries bordering Afghanistan must also be drawn in as part of a solution, he said, including Iran but particularly Pakistan, where the Taliban and its backers in Al-Qaeda and criminal gangs have rear bases.
“All the neighbours … play a direct role and we’re going to look for more of a regional approach,” he said, noting that “Pakistan’s situation is dire.”
“It needs international assistance, international sympathy and international support,” said Holbrooke, the new envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, where he will start his tour that will also take in India.
The envoy also railed against would-be donors who have failed to live up to their pledges.
“People got up and pledged things, and nothing happened, and that is the story of Afghanistan,” he said. “I have never seen anything remotely resembling the mess we have inherited.” [more]
Afghanistan has already proven more dangerous for Canadian troops than Iraq was for the US. There’s very little doubt that an escalation of the war there be more dangerous again for all involved – note that the cost to Afghan civilians is never taken into account.
And what on earth is this business about the US inheriting a mess? The US created the mess. What’s he talking about?
My heart sinks when I think of what is to come in Afghanistan if Obama does what he says he’s going to do. Canada should get the hell out, now. And heaven bless any other members of NATO who manage to stay away.