According to a NATO official, the Afghan mission became unrealistic by attempting to rebuild the country.


According to a NATO official, the Afghan mission became unrealistic by attempting to rebuild the country.

An official said Wednesday that NATO’s goal in Afghanistan became untenable when it tried to help rebuild a country ravaged by poverty and conflict. According to the Associated Press, Assistant Secretary-General for Operations John Manza is working on a report with 30 NATO deputy national envoys on the nearly two decades of work the agency performed in Afghanistan.

According to the Associated Press, NATO took command of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan in 2003, a multinational military mission that lasted until 2014, nearly two years after a US-led coalition invaded the country to push back against the Taliban for sheltering Osama bin Laden. NATO initially stationed about 5,000 troops in and around Kabul, according to Manza, but the organization has since shifted its focus to “tackling the fundamental causes of terrorism” through reconstruction initiatives.

“You have to ask, and this is something we’ve been asking a lot in the committee I chair, were these goals we set at the time realistic?” Manza remarked.

He went on to say that, despite the international community’s failure to meet its goals in Afghanistan, “our answer to the dismal progress…was to do more.”

See the list below for more Associated Press reporting.

The report was tasked to Manza and the deputy national envoys after the Afghan president fled and the NATO-trained Afghan army failed after President Joe Biden stated that the US would withdraw troops, allowing the Taliban to assume power.

“The most obvious one is mission creep,” Manza told European Union legislators, referring to one of the major lessons being reviewed by his team, which also includes input from military and political specialists, notably from Afghanistan.

NATO soldier numbers grew from 5,000 to about 60,000 by 2006, with military-civilian teams scattered across the relatively lawless country, attempting to stimulate economic growth and better administration in practically every province.

“This very significant increase had the opposite impact,” Manza added. “The insurrection continued to grow in intensity. Corruption was still a major issue in the country, and government performance was not improving.” NATO force levels grew to over 100,000 under a “surge” ordered by then-US President Barack Obama in 2009, while foreign aid to Afghanistan was significantly enhanced. The overabundance of aid money began. This is a condensed version of the information.


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