US says war in Afghanistan to take long time


BERLIN : US special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke said in Munich Sunday the war launched by the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan would take a long time.

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Holbrooke, addressing the Munich Security Conference in the Bavarian city, due to conclude today, said there were no “magic” solutions for the conflict in Afghanistan.

He attributed the long conflict in the war-torn country to weak military presence and shortage of civilian assistance, which enabled Al-Qaeda and Taliban to gain ground.

Holbrooke said all countries neighboring Afghanistan should play a role to bring about stability to the country.

German Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung, addressing the same conference, said NATO needed a new strategy including to the conflict in Afghanistan.

Jung said NATO’s current strategy in Afghanistan was initiaited in 1999 and needed to be reviewed.

The new strategy should be ready by NATO’s next summit in France and Germany early April, he said.

UK Defense Secretary John Hutton criticized the Kabul government and NATO’s mission in Afghanistan for being “weak.” He said the Afghan government failed to fight corruption but was asking the NATO forces to step up their fight which made things “depressing.” Hutton called the military alliance to focus on reconstruction.

He said the war in Afghanistan is of “fundamentalism” in nature.

Commander of the US Central Command General David Petraeus called on NATO members to step up efforts to improve efficiency of international forces in Afghanistan.

He said Afghanistan needed more forces, supplies, warplanes and communication groups “but that needs financial support.” (end) KUNA 081940 Feb 09NNNN