NATO SecGen says Taliban “cannot win” in Afghanistan

Gen. David Petraeus and NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen with Afghan National Police Gen. Nasrullah Zarifi, 7/19/10.

From Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO:  Of course, it will be impossible to defeat every last Taliban fighter. That’s not the idea. But we can keep them under pressure, prevent them from achieving their political goals, and train Afghan forces to do the same. That’s exactly what we’re doing. .

Second: they assume the Taliban would be satisfied with the South – and that the other communities in Afghanistan would be satisfied with that as well. The Taliban have national ambitions – they have made that clear time and again. And the other communities know it. If you want civil war in Afghanistan again, this would be a good way to get it.

Third: they suggest Al Qaeda is gone for good from Afghanistan. This is nothing more than hope. Al Qaeda are barely present in Afghanistan because we have made it impossible for them to be there. They are just across the border. The Taliban has never renounced their ties to Al Qaeda. If we were to let up the pressure, they would be back. Any other suggestions is just wishful thinking.

And that’s exactly the point. Our strategy is not quick and it isn’t easy. But it is sound. For our security we need Afghanistan to be able to take care of its own security, to be inhospitable to terrorism. That means building it up until it can stand, first with our support, then alone. So that one day we can bring our forces back.

And it is working. Because we’re there, the Taliban are under pressure throughout Afghanistan, and Al Qaeda has no safe haven. Afghan forces are steadily getting more and more capable, and we will only transition to Afghan lead when they are ready. Which means that the insurgency in Afghanistan can bomb and terrorise and murder. But they cannot take power. They cannot win.

Excerpt from press briefing by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.  (photo: Demotix)

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