NATO Slams Weak Afghan Leadership

Scheffer Says Lack of Central Control 'Costs Lives'

by Jason Ditz, January 18, 2009

More than seven years into the US-led invasion, the situation in Afghanistan is no better, and in many ways is dramatically worse. Afghan President Hamid Karzai is increasingly impatient with the floundering nation-building effort, but according to NATO’s Secretary General, Karzai is increasingly the problem.

In an opinion piece in the Washington Post, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer “the basic problem in Afghanistan is not too much Taliban; it’s too little good governance.” Declaring “we have paid enough,” Scheffer demanded that the Karzai government “take more concrete and vigorous steps to root out corruption and increase efficiency.” According to Scheffer, the lack of credible central control has a “real cost in lives.”

Scheffer pointed to polls which he claimed showed over 70 percent of Afghans support the NATO mission, and urged the international media to pay more attention to the number of civilians killed by the Taliban compared to those killed by NATO troops. He also claimed that the Taliban killings “happen five times more often,” which as of the most recent UN report appears to be either a gross overestimation of the Taliban’s killings or a gross underestimation of America’s predilection for bombing scores of civilians at a time.

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