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Multi-lateral support for COIN in Afghanistan

Posted By Uncle Jimbo • [October 23, 2009]

BRATISLAVA — NATO defense ministers gave their broad endorsement Friday to the counterinsurgency strategy for Afghanistan laid out by Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, increasing pressure on the Obama administration and on their own governments to commit more military and civilian resources for the mission to succeed.

General McChrystal, the senior American and allied commander in Afghanistan, landed here early Friday to brief NATO defense ministers on his strategic review of an 8-year-old war in which the American-led effort has lost momentum to a tenacious insurgency. The closed-door session — which had not been disclosed in advance — added a note of drama to the sort of NATO ministerial meeting that is often mundane.

“What we did today was to discuss General McChrystal’s overall assessment, his overall approach, and I have noted a broad support from all ministers of this overall counterinsurgency approach,” said NATO’s secretary general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

That seems pretty multi-lateral. After all the bitching and moaning about W and the lack of support from our allies this seems like a major step. Although we have had NATO support for much of the time in A-Stan, maybe we can get them to actually step up to the plate. It certainly puts some pressure on Obama as he will now be going against the collective wisdom of most of Europe as well as our own generals if he decides to get weak knees.

Although NATO will not meet until next month to decide whether to commit more resources to Afghanistan, Mr. Gates did reveal that he had received indications that some allies were prepared to increase their contributions of civilian experts or troops, or both.

Separate from his strategic review, General McChrystal has submitted a request for forces, which was not under discussion Friday, but is now working its way through both the American and NATO chains of command.

The various options submitted by General McChrystal range up to a maximum of 85,000 more troops, although his leading option calls for increasing forces by about 40,000, according to officials familiar with the proposal.

Pressure for adding troops mounted throughout the day, as other senior international representatives also told NATO defense ministers of the need to increase their commitments in order to succeed in Afghanistan.

Kai Eide, the United Nations special representative for Afghanistan, flew to Slovakia to meet NATO defense chiefs, and he stressed that “additional international troops are required.” He also told the allies, “This cannot be a U.S.-only enterprise.”

Boy you throw in the UN's support and Obama seems to be painted in a corner he campaigned himself into. It would be very tough for him to deny McChrystal at this point.


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