NATO summit 2012 in Chicago has been marred by protests. Meanwhile history is repeating itself as NATO plans early exit from Afghanistan, says Soroor Ahmed of NVONews.Com
In what many future historians may interpret as another humiliating retreat from Afghanistan, NATO leaders on Monday (May 21) finally sealed a landmark agreement to hand control of Afghanistan over to its own security forces by the middle of next year. The deadline to withdraw its forces is Dec 31, 2014.
Just a day after the Group of Eight wealthy nations––who are fast turning poor––met in Camp David on Saturday NATO leaders, held a Summit in Obama’s hometown of Chicago on Sunday-Monday to formally committed to a US-backed strategy that calls for a gradual exit of foreign troops. The G-8 leaders, apart from other NATO allies, were present here too.
What remain unanswered is as to who would take control of Afghanistan. If world’s most powerful armies and air forces could not achieve the goal in 11 long years, how will the rump Afghan state under Hamid Karzai would survive. After all the British Empire played many such cards in 19th and 20th centuries but failed. And so did the Soviet Union.
Though the 28-nation NATO succeeded in getting rid of Osama Bin Laden it failed to dismantle the Taliban war machine and many of its leader, including Mullah Omar, is very much alive.
President Barack Obama, who started his tenure with the withdrawal of forces from Iraq, now wants to show to the war-weary voters that the end is in sight in Afghanistan too.
So far other European NATO alliances are concerned they are almost on the verge of collapse and can not afford to be in that mountainous country for long. After all the Francois Hollande line prevailed over that of NATO’s commander in Afghanistan Gen John Allen and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Though Obama told a Summit session on Afghanistan “I am confident … that we can advance that goal today and responsibly bring this war to an end” what he did not say is that war does not come to end by just one party announcing it. Much depends on the response of the rival party.
The final communiqué of the Summit ratified plans for the NATO-led army to hand over command of all combat missions to Afghan forces by the middle of 2013. The withdrawal of most of the 130,000 foreign troops by the end of 2014 is just a symbolic gesture.
Western experts have started questioning whether the US and NATO have succeeded in their objective, which they propagate before attacking Afghanistan on Oct 8, 2001, that is, 27 daya after 9/11.
With Europe facing debt crisis, Obama was struggling to squeeze out commitments for what had yet to be covered of the $4.1 billion a year needed to fund Afghan security forces.
Besides, in the election year Obama has sought to dispel the concern of Americans that shaky allies will leave US troops to fight alone.