Friday, January 18, 2008

NATO hears 'noise before defeat'

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates' extraordinary attack on North Atlantic Treaty Organization efforts in Afghanistan - "they need to do a better job" - highlights Washington's frustration at what is no longer a winnable war against the Taliban

By M K Bhadrakumar
Asia Times

"When the blame-game begins in an indeterminate war, it is time to sit up and take note. US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates' interview with the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday rings alarm bells.

There has been no effort to claim he was misquoted. In fact, Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell confirmed the chief was "not backing off his fundamental criticism that NATO [North Atlantic Treaty Organization] needs to do a better job in training for counter-insurgency"......

Britain is now called on to salvage the Afghan war. NATO at best will be a sleeping partner. The Hindu Kush is all set to be Lord Ashdown's theater. He represents the UN; the White House reposes confidence in him; he takes counseling and directions from London, which coordinates with Riyadh and Islamabad - and then, gingerly, he sets out, searching for the Taliban. Incidentally, among his many attributes, Lord Ashdown is a gifted polyglot who speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese and other languages. Maybe he already speaks Pashto. "

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