Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Parting Company

Has NATO cried "uncle" in Afghanistan?

Apparently reacting to the ongoing spate of "green on blue" killings of Western forces by supposed Afghan allies, NATO has cut back on operations with Afghan forces.

The move to curtail joint on-the-ground operations throws the coalition's military strategy into disarray and could further undermine public support in Australia for the war.

...NATO says 51 coalition soldiers have been killed by Afghan soldiers and police this year.

The suspension of joint operations threatens the plan to train an effective Afghan army to hold off the Taliban after the total withdrawal of foreign troops.

It sounds very much like NATO has had a "bugger this" moment with time fast running out, the Afghan forces thoroughly infiltrated, desertions running at about the same rate as recruiting and a hopeless government in Kabul that defies any hope of salvation.

But, as the West is packing up the dishes and linens in preparation for leaving Afghanistan, Russia is steadily ramping up its presence.

A period of intense high-level exchange is commencing this week between Russia and its Central Asian allies - and Pakistan. What characterizes the Russian strategy is a robust attempt to develop comprehensive partnerships with these countries in preparation of the post-2014 scenario in Afghanistan with the expected withdrawal of the troops of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

The Russian focus is, not surprisingly, on the three countries to the north and south of Afghanistan - Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Pakistan.


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