HomeMEDIA RESOURCES20041 June 2004 - Press Communique: Afganistan
1 June 2004 - Press Communique: Afganistan
BRATISLAVA, June 1 – Warning of the danger of failure in Afghanistan, the President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (NATO-PA), Congressman Doug Bereuter, announced on Tuesday that he was writing to all NATO Heads of Government requesting them to take urgent action to address shortfalls in personnel and equipment in the NATO mission in that country.
President Bereuter told fellow parliamentarians that he had been authorised by the Assembly’s Standing Committee – its main decision-making body – to take this extraordinary measure because the next few weeks would be critical “for the future of Afghanistan and for the credibility of the North Atlantic Alliance.”
“Unless the NATO allies quickly remedy the grave shortfalls in military personnel and equipment, the NATO mission in Afghanistan faces a real danger of failure,” he told the plenary session of NATO-PA’s Spring Session in the Slovak capital of Bratislava.
In a forceful speech, Bereuter told the Assembly that since NATO took command last year of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan some 6,500 troops from the Alliance and its partners had succeeded in providing a more secure environment in and around the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Bereuter stated that unless existing shortfalls were remedied and extra resources provided, the countrywide elections scheduled for September would in all likelihood “do little more than legitimize the warlords and drug traffickers who control much of the country.”
“We must secure these assets now. To fail to do so will place in jeopardy all we have achieved thus far in improving stability in this crucial region,” he said.
“This is a failure of political will, pure and simple. Make no mistake this is a failure that jeopardizes the success of our mission in Afghanistan and the very credibility of the Alliance,” Bereuter said, adding: “Promises and pledges must be kept; resources must be quickly deployed.”
The crisis in Afghanistan was one of the main subjects at the NATO-PA’s five-day session in Bratislava which ended today. Following a report by a fact-finding mission of senior Assembly members to Afghanistan in late May, the NATO-PA agreed that unless action was taken to provide the necessary security for a free vote then the elections could result in a major setback for NATO’s first out of theatre mission.
For more information: Jonathan Clayton (+421-902849128)or Keith Williams at NATO PA Press and Information Office Tel (421-2) 5752 6920/21 Fax (421-2) 5752 6922 or www.nato-pa.int