5 October 2009 - NATO PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY MEMBERS VISIT AFGHANISTAN, DISCUSS STRATEGY WITH ISAF COMMANDER
Five senior members and the Secretary General of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly travelled to Afghanistan September 29-October 2, 2009 for meetings with senior Afghan and international officials. The delegation, led by Dutch Member of Parliament, Hendrik Jan Ormel, discussed military strategy with General Stanley McChrystal, the Commander of ISAF. They also reviewed the current political situation in the wake of the inconclusive August 20 presidential elections with the Speaker of the Lower House of Parliament, the Ministers of Defence and Interior, and senior UN and diplomatic representatives. Finally, the delegation visited the Afghan National Military Academy, observing training manoeuvres and interacting with cadets.
For a detailled report click here.
After three days of discussions in Kabul, the delegation travelled to Mazar-E Sharif, where members heard the ISAF Regional Commander’s situational assessment, dialogued with regional UN staff, and visited a regional coordination centre for Afghan security forces as well as a Provincial Reconstruction Team led by Sweden.
The delegation’s visit came at a critical time in Afghanistan. Elections bodies were in the midst of addressing controversy over reports of fraud potentially affecting the Presidential and provincial council elections of August 20. The uncertainty surrounding the election results, combined with the stark Initial Assessment of the situation by ISAF Commander McChrystal, as well as incidents of civilian and military casualties and declining public support for the mission both in major NATO countries and amongst Afghans, led to a sense that major decisions regarding the mission were both necessary and imminent.
Defence and Security Committee Rapporteur and British parliamentarian Frank Cook stated:
“I came to Afghanistan in near despair over the challenges faced by Afghan and international forces there. However, several areas of progress, and detailed briefings on the strategy going forward, have made me believe that the plan can work if given a chance. And while there will be higher risk in the short term, no one can stand on the sideline: every nation should give the best of its contribution to this worthy cause.”
Information gained in the visit is intended to inform discussions at the NATO Parliamentary Assembly’s Annual Session, scheduled for November 13-17, 2009 in
The delegation was composed as follows:
Hendrik Jan Ormel(Netherlands), Vice-President of the NATO PA
Jeppe Kofod (Denmark), Vice-Chairman of the Economics and Security Committee’s Sub-Committee on East-West Economic Cooperation and Convergence
David Hobbs,Secretary General of the NATO PA
and accompanied by Jack Segal, the Chief Political Adviser to the Commander, Joint Force Command Brunssum and Alex Tiersky, Director of the Assembly’s Defence and Security Committee.
the NATO PA delegation with General Stanley McChrystal, COMISAF, Kabul