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'No time line for Afghanistan exit': Bildt

AFP/The Local · 1 Sep 2009, 17:48

Published: 01 Sep 2009 17:48 GMT+02:00

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"There is no time line, it is clear that no one has an exit strategy, because we have a transition strategy," Carl Bildt, whose country is currently president of the European Union, told AFP.

"It is vital that Afghans have the confidence that we will stay," he said.

There are currently more than 100,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan but the emphasis of the foreign presence was shifting, Bildt said, from military action against Taliban-liked insurgents, to training Afghan security forces and helping build a civilian governance infrastructure.

"There has to be a move from a military-heavy presence to a civilian-heavy presence," he said.

"One of the big problems in Afghanistan in the last 30 to 40 years is that there have been too many exit strategies and not enough transition strategies," Bildt said before leaving Kabul after a two-day visit to Afghanistan.

The US and NATO commander in Afghanistan on Monday submitted a long-awaited review into the eight-year war, calling for a revised strategy to defeat the Taliban and reverse the "serious" situation in the country.

The United States and NATO have called for new thinking in Afghanistan to counter record numbers of Taliban attacks since the 2001 US-led invasion.

Bildt said the emphasis of the new strategy was on "civilian, political, economic resources" to build "rule of law, governance and anti-corruption mechanisms".

"These are critical to winning this war," he said, because "this is not a conflict that can be won by military means alone".

Story continues below…

Bildt said he met the deputy commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, General Jim Dutton, and discussed the review submitted by General Stanley McChrystal on Monday.

The Afghan government has welcomed the civilian focus in McChrystal's review, as civilian deaths and collateral damage have caused widespread anger.

Afghanistan is bogged down in controversy over presidential elections. President Hamid Karzai is leading a painstaking vote count but the polls have been clouded in allegations of massive fraud.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

19:26 September 1, 2009 by lingonberrie
Bildt has now become a part of the American policy.

In order to accomplish the goals that he has stated, there most certainly won't be a "time-line" and this abysmal American-created situation will last for another 10 years or so when they will leave with their tail between their legs just as they did in Vietnam.

That Sweden has bought into this lie is a tragedy, and proof positive that the Bilde r bergs have passed orders to the Swedish PM.
21:35 September 1, 2009 by tigger007
my god man! get off america's dyck for once!

if you have a better plan let's hear it! IF not shut your mouth,all u do is ragg on america and how america does things. i will tell you this if a strong nation like russia or some other country would come an take over sweden, who would u want to save your beloved sweden? the EU(what a joke) nato(the us runs nato).

should the world listen to the all mighty dingleberrie? if u wanna talk about tails being tucked,what did sweden do in ww2? let the germans walk all over them! how can you let someone come in your backyard and tell you what to do because of the heartless swedes running the government. if i was ever to meet you i would buy u a case of hater rid. all that hating you are doing must my u thristy! what a real douche bag!!
22:26 September 1, 2009 by lingonberrie
The disinformation radicals have slithered out of the sewers, as usual, this one with what good only be identified by its abysmal ungrammtical Enlish, which could also be a diversionary tactic by an American to pose as a Swede. No Swede in their right mind would write trash like this that is shown in the second comment.

Whatever it is, this is what is to be expected by apologists for a criminal nation that is best described by one of their best writers, Dexter Filkins, who has seen more war in the last ten years than any soldier, foreign or domestic, in his latest book, The Forever War. He is also one of most respected journalists in the business, by soldiers and civilians alike, and by his peers.

The United States has been attacking the Middle East since 1991, and they are still attacking, and anyone who cites WWII, which lasted less than four years, as a defense of the pressent American tactics, has a cucumber for a brain.

I've read the Bilde r berg manifesto, so you can either quit trying to convince me of your and their propoganda or you can crawl back into your sewer. You are out of your league with me any case.
23:40 September 1, 2009 by Yendor
The Taliban are no more than a bunch of organized thugs and criminals that want to run the country. The Taliban must be destroyed and reduced to just a few pages in the history books telling of their crimes. To allow the Taliban to run the country would be like allowing the gangs of Los Angeles to join forces and run the city!
00:18 September 2, 2009 by lingonberrie
The gangs in Los Angeles, along with several corrupt police administrations, did run the city of LA.

That place was a concrete jungle.

A recent report touted the present LA Police Administration as one of the best, and one that has cleaned up their internal corruption, and one which has also made the city safer.

What they mean by safer is an unknown factor.

Compared to what?
05:55 September 2, 2009 by DaTraveler
Most experts see Afghanistan as a 30year project with the next decade being intense counter insurgency combat though with each year being more emphasis on training the ANA. It'll be a while until they can stand on their own two feet and fight.

The world abandoned afghanistan 20years ago and it went to straight anarchy. This is the last stand, if we withdraw from Afghanistan, it is lost and Pakistan may suffer the same fate. We need to re-double our efforts, more civilian and aid capacity. The south is seeing combat like the Korean war and the North is slowly suffering the same. It looks bleak, but we can't give up.

Good to see Sweden will stick with it.
07:13 September 2, 2009 by Bob Jacobson
What is Bildt talking about? Lack of an exit strategy isn't the problem, but lack of a "transition" is? What does he mean by transition? From what state to what state? Afghanistan like Somalia is a region divided by ethnicities and run by warlords. What does it transition to? A theocratic dictatorship? A secular dictatorship? Seventeen autonomous nations? Is there a role for the West in any of these foreseeable futures? It seems not. Yet Bildt remains hopeful even though his own methodology leaves us wanting.

As to the commentator who trusts to unidentified "experts" who advocate a 30-year "project," which he qualifies as war. The last 30-year war -- actually called, The Thirty Years War -- occurred in the 17th Century. Like the current conflict in Afghanistan, battling religious sects used spiritual ideology to cover for their imperialist ambitions. And like the current war, Sweden was heavily involved, losing fortunes and lives in large numbers, but gaining a taste for empire that subsequently led to conflicts with Britain, Turkey, and Russia -- real empires -- that eviscerated the nation in the succeeding century.

No nation has been able to sustain a 30-years war since. Were the Taliban to retake Afghanistan, it's unlikely that their ambition would turn to claiming Pakistan. The toll would be too high. A Taliban resurgence would be bad for Afghanistan and especially its women and secular Afghanis, but maybe not much worse than the prevailing situation. Eventually the Afghanis would either throw off their rule, as is happening in Iran, or the Taliban would mellow and become more cosmopolitan. While my prognostications necessarily are speculative, they are at least in accord with history. Proponents of a 30year war are way out there, relying only on their own hope for vindication. Like Bildt, who has no outside timeline for Sweden's leavetaking.

Meanwhile my own USA is debating seriously exiting from Afghanistan. As we were the ones supposedly wronged by the Taliban indirectly by their hospitality to Al Quaida, our desire to get out should provoke others to think twice about sticking around. Like Bildt, who champions a "transition." What, when, why, and how -- that's for others to deduce.

Time to get out, Sweden. All of us. Out, out, out. And then take care of problems at home!
12:53 September 2, 2009 by Audrian
In Afghanistan, the US and its allies are destroying an already backward country into a primitive state. This makes the Taliban invincible for the reason NATO forces (US) find it increasingly difficult to find property to destroy. By the same token, the war cost to the US, which is escalating, is not unaffordable. This is the reason why NTO forces are talking about exit strategy. The way I see it, exit strategy is the same us divide the people so the people of this country would be trapped in civil war. The same policy was implemented in the Iraq. The US has armed the Kurds; so also some Sunny groups.

Who benefits from war?

The military industrial complex (in US) benefits from war. It markets are not just the US and NATO countries but also a host of many other nations who are on a brink of war or civil war. The US has several thousand of basis all over the world ready to go to war. When they do the demand for arms rises and the military industrial complex's profit rises.

The military industrial complex is the only sector of the US economy that is not negatively affected by economic depression that is wrecking western economies.

The US started the obliteration of Iraq and left the Iraqis to complete the destruction.

The western people should fight back by voting the war mongers out of politics so that these destructive wars would stop. The west would benefit from leaving the Middle East even when the Islamists take power. The Middle East does not have anything other than oil and sand. They have to export oil to sustain a sensible standard of living.

If the US continues to destroy the Middle East into a primitive state, they might reach a stage where they do not need to export oil to sustain a primitive way of life.
16:01 September 2, 2009 by Harding00
All I could think of while reading the article was the picture. Why doesn't that soldier have a helmet on? I don't think a baseball cap will do much against anything, other than maybe the sun and the flies. Perhaps he's on a base, and doesn't need it, but it just doesn't seem that way.
07:51 September 3, 2009 by tango
Four points come to mind:

1. Allowing Afghanistan to fall into anarchy is not an option. We, the world community, tried it once already -- and that's what gave birth to the Taliban and allowed Al-Qaeda to emerge as dangerous terrorist organizations.

2. Those who now say that Bildt, the Swedish FM, is now to be condemned for "supporting American policy", are astonishingly naive. Clearly, Bildt is supporting the EU's new darling of a US President, Barack Obama, and his policy -- condemning that is condemning President Obama himself. Additionally, such talk is little more than the usual chatter of Euro-centric propagandists -- being against the USA is somehow being pro-Europe.

3. The US is the world's leading political, military, economic and cultural power. There has to be a reason for that -- if the US was as WRONG WRONG WRONG and WRONG AGAIN all the time that so many Europeans claim, it would not continue to hold its dominant position in the world community.

4. Being a critic is easier than being in a position of responsibility. The global political reality has evolved from multilateral INTERnational affairs to one where many European politicians seem consumed by a desire to "counterbalance" the USA as a unipolar power. Thus, Europe has fallen into a well-recognized and politically stagnant trap of being the equivalent of the "opposition party" in parlaimentary politics.

5. The need to counterbalance the USA is rapidly declining -- China is emerging as a global and seriously challenging strategically interested power. If not for the USA, there would be a fair chance that ultimately, the world would fall to Chinese rulership. Those who are serious studies of international politics recognize this as a long term threat to the so-called Western world's current dominating political position in the global community.

All of this amounts to idle musings but hopefully educational ones. What follows will likely be a series of people, largely liberals and America bashers, who will claim that I'm an uneducated twit. For those of you who try such base rhetorical tactics, good luck with that view -- you'll only convince each other, i.e., those who already agree with you on the points you will make.

I believe that Sweden, NATO and ISAF, with heavy US participation are the best and perhaps last hope for any form of stability in Afghanistan. If not us, who? China? Russia? Iran?
01:15 September 4, 2009 by Asian view
There are too many problems regarding the Afghani War:

The US military has to adhere to attorny written "Seven rules of Engagement" including adhering the the rules of the Geneva conference. The enemy goes out of his way NOT to follow these rules. In fact the civilian is both his target and shield. We have taken a zero to low collateral damage which means the more civilians killed the greater the anti war rhetoric, it does not matter who killed the civilians the result is the same.

The enemy's uniform is that of the civilian and the members of the terrorists are related to the civilian population creating a bond that we would be hard pressed to pierce.

The lucrative poppy industry not only benefits the many terrorist organizations and warlords but most pertinent it is a money spinner for government and security personnel of Afghanistan, Pakistan and the world wide network. Furthermore the terrorist organizations get logistic, arms, money from regional powers that do not want the US to set a permanent footprint in that area.

Nations like Iran, Russia, China, the ISI of Pakistan and other nations who see the US as a threat give open support to our enemy including vast territories for them to set up headquarters.

The local population including the poppy farmers know that the US's presence however long is temperory while the terrorists are there to stay and are related to them. The civilian allegian naturally would be towards the powers that are localized and permanent in nature.

Finally the battle ground to date has been the lands of Afghanistan and Pakistan and the major player has been a man named Mullah Omar, their version of our General McCrystal. He was a Pakistani prisoner tortured for years for the suspicion of being a partcipant in an attempted assassination of Musharaf. There are a couple more like him. He has managed to unite the disparate Jihadi radical groups along with the warlords in this initial phase of the war. The Afhani Taliban, The Pakisanti Taliban and the Al-Qaeda have not yet played their hand, laying low and watching this crazed man and his band of suicide terrorists take us on. Once the real players come into play the battle ground will include the cities of the west.
03:14 September 5, 2009 by Tony Ryals

I have discussed in several articles the powerful Zionists behind the Obama White House. Obama was sponsored and molded since 1992 to be the first black president of the United States by the daughter of Philip Morris Klutznick, the former president of the B'nai B'rith and mega Zionist from Chicago. The chief of staff of the White House is Rahm Emanuel, an Israeli national whose father was a member of a Zionist terrorist organization in Palestine that was allied with Nazi Germany. These are a few real facts, not opinions, that need to be dealt with....

Understanding the Zionist nature of the Obama administration, the question that must be asked is why is the administration expanding the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan? The American people certainly have no real interest in Afghanistan or Pakistan and the Afghans and Pakistanis have no real interest in America. There must be a Zionist strategic goal in controlling these two Central Asian nations, but what is it?

As I pointed out in my article from 2001, "The Great Game: The War for Caspian Oil and Gas," the Israelis are deeply engaged in the region:

Turkmenistan and Azerbijan are also both closely allied with Israeli commercial interests and Israeli military intelligence. In Turkmenistan, a former Israeli intelligence agent, Yosef A. Maiman, president of Merhav Group of Israel, is the official negotiator and policy maker responsible for developing the energy resources of Turkmenistan.

"This is the Great Game all over," Maiman told the Wall Street Journal about his role in furthering the "geopolitical goals of both the U.S. and Israel in Central Asia. "We are doing what U.S. and Israeli policy could not achieve," he said, "Controlling the transport route is controlling the product."

"Those that control the oil routes out of Central Asia will impact all future direction and quantities of flow and the distribution of revenues from new production," said energy expert James Dorian recently in Oil & Gas Journal on September 10, 2001.

Foreign business in Turkmenistan is dominated by Maiman's Merhav Group, according to the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs (WRMEA). Maiman, who was made a citizen of Turkmenistan by presidential decree, serves as Turkmenistan's official negotiator for its gas pipeline, special ambassador, and right-hand man for the authoritarian President Saparmurad Atayevich Niyazov, a former Politburo member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

The Merhav Group of Israel officially represents the Turkmen government and has brokered all of the energy projects in Turkmenistan, contracts worth many billions of dollars.

- THE 9-11 DECEPTION,Christopher Bollyn
13:56 September 5, 2009 by Marc the Texan
Honestly, this is not a difficult problem to solve strategically. They need economic development through massive infrastructure investment. Which is actually way cheaper than maintaining a large military presence. The only problems are logistical and the can be overcome.

Employ every man and boy of fighting age that you can find. Pay him a good afghan wage. Work them hard, building roads, electric grid, water/sewer infrastructure. At the end of the day, they are too tired to fight and see they are making progress personally and nationally.

All the infrastructure development will spur commerce. They will know they built with their own hands and feel a sense of ownership and will protect it.

This is cheap compared to military expenditure, even if we pay every penny for years.
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