Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Atmar calls for 'Afghanisation' of the war

Afghanistan's Minister of Education, Mohammad Hanif Atmar (pictured), talked to the BBC recently:

'Leave Taleban to Afghans' call

An influential Afghan minister has called on the West to allow local communities in Afghanistan to take over the fight against the Taleban.

Education Minister Mohammad Hanif Atmar said the answer lay in what he called the "Afghanisation" of security.

Mr Atmar, who is a close ally of President Hamid Karzai, said Afghan forces needed more training. ...

While Nato leaders have been calling for member countries to commit more troops to Afghanistan, Mr Atmar told the BBC that this was not the answer.

He says a traditional Afghan system, with local communities being allowed to practice self-defence, would be more effective.

He believes that Afghan forces could defeat the Taleban in five years, instead of the 15 he believes Nato would need.

And with at least 10 times as much money being spent on foreign troops as on Afghan forces, he believes that money could be better spent in training and providing resources.

The BBC's Elettra Neysmith says "Afghanisation" is a popular concept at the moment within Nato.

She says it has been cynically described as a "get out of jail free" card for Western countries mired in the deepening Taleban insurgency. ... (link)
We last heard from Atmar last month, citing his participation in crafting an international NGO report on women and peace-building in Afghanistan. The youthful educational minister, along with two prominent Afghan women, were among the report's expert authors. Therein, they explain that emboldened conservative forces "both inside and outside parliament" threaten efforts to achieve peace "and thus can be seen as the real threats to women in Afghanistan." (See blog post here.)

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