Military leaders in Afghanistan are dramatically re-thinking their strategies, but the ministerial briefings given to the new government reveal little planning and even less urgency
The news from the war zone is not good. In the last month, 50 civilians have been killed in
US secretary of defence Robert M. Gates, is warning there is “not enough time, patience or money” to pursue overly ambitious goals in
This mission is, essentially, all about governance and there is no doubt that there is a lack of capacity within
The British seem to be forgetting their own previous experience in this graveyard of empires.
Karzai is striking back at western criticism by looking east for new allies – to
Last week, the Afghan president and his country’s independent electoral commission deferred the presidential and provincial council elections that were due in May until August, to provide time for the additional troops promised by the Obama administration to arrive and bolster security. In short, Karzai is saying:“if you want functioning democracy in
Karzai is also pressing for a new agreement with the
The current word from senior administration officials in Washington is that President Obama intends to adopt a tougher line toward Harmid Karzai – one that will demand a crackdown on endemic corruption and more emphasis on waging war than on development, or more particularly, development aid.
All in all,
The briefs prepared for incoming ministers by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the New Zealand Defence Force are certainly brief when it comes to any significant appraisal of the challenges to the mission in
In the versions of the ministerial briefs doctored for public consumption, there is little sense of urgency in regard to decisions on Afghanistan that the incoming government will be required to take – despite the sense urgency being displayed in Washington, London, Ottawa, Canberra, and Kabul.
There are no references to the fact the security in Bamiyan and Kabul provinces where NZDF troops are stationed has deteriorated to the point where an additional 3,000 US troops are being deployed this month to counter the mounting threat from Taliban insurgents.
There is no mention that the prospects of famine are fueling already high tribal tensions between the resident Hazaras and nomadic Kuchi in Bamyan province, or that the NZDF has been testing its ability to undertake aerial food drops now its road patrols are hampered by the threat from improvised explosive devices, as well as the snow.
There is no progress report on New Zealand’s protracted negotiations with the Karzai government to achieve an agreement on the treatment of NZDF detainees transferred to Afghan custody – or the potential problem caused by the fact that the NZDF provincial reconstruction team has no capacity to hold or process any detainees it might need to capture in defence of its mission.
There is also no sign of the proposal to increase
The NZDF simply comments that it is “being stretched by the sustainment [sic] of existing peace support operations – particularly in
MFAT offers a stunning appraisal of the impact that the change of administration in
The foreign policy implications of the ascension of Barack Obama to the Presidency of the
The brief also says our officials are currently drafting post-election Cabinet papers that will provide options to the incoming government on