NATO Unity Aids Comprehensive Afghan Strategy, Mullen Says

WASHINGTON, Nov. 21, 2010 — After years of fight­ing the war in Afghanistan with­out enough NATO or U.S. forces, new agree­ments reached at the NATO Sum­mit this week­end have brought uni­ty to the multi­na­tion­al effort in that nation, the chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said today.
Appear­ing this morn­ing on CNN’s “State of the Union” and ABC’s “This Week,” Navy Adm. Mike Mullen dis­cussed progress in Afghanistan and oth­er nation­al secu­ri­ty issues.

“As we have changed the strat­e­gy, focused and got­ten the resources right over the course of the last year, this is the first time we real­ly are where we need to be in terms of exe­cut­ing a com­pre­hen­sive strat­e­gy,” Mullen said. 

As the sum­mit end­ed yes­ter­day, NATO Sec­re­tary Gen­er­al Anders Fogh Ras­mussen and Afghan Pres­i­dent Hamid Karzai signed a dec­la­ra­tion of “endur­ing part­ner­ship,” and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of 48 nations that con­tribute to the U.N.-mandated Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force in Afghanistan issued a dec­la­ra­tion affirm­ing their resolve to lay foun­da­tions there for long-term security. 

Mullen said he was encour­aged by the dec­la­ra­tions in Lis­bon, Por­tu­gal, where NATO and the 48 con­tribut­ing nations all affirmed 2014 as the dead­line for turn­ing secu­ri­ty respon­si­bil­i­ties over to Afghan secu­ri­ty forces. 

“I would describe it much like what we just went through in Iraq, where clear­ly they have the lead for their own secu­ri­ty,” Mullen said. “We are there in some capac­i­ty in a train­ing, advis­ing and assist mode, which we would expect to be for some time. But in terms of com­bat oper­a­tions, they would have the lead.” 

NATO also affirmed the tran­si­tion would start in the spring, the chair­man said, and will be based on con­di­tions on the ground as well as on “dis­trict by dis­trict” rec­om­men­da­tions from Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, com­man­der of U.S. Forces Afghanistan. 

“We’ve laid out a plan, we think it’s a good tar­get, and [we have] an expec­ta­tion that it will be achieved,” Mullen said. 

With more than 650 coali­tion troops, includ­ing 451 Amer­i­cans, killed in Afghanistan so far this year, Mullen said this peri­od has been par­tic­u­lar­ly dif­fi­cult because of the influx of many more troops to the war zone. 

“I would expect next year to be a very dif­fi­cult year as well,” the chair­man said. “That said, the secu­ri­ty sit­u­a­tion has start­ed to change, it has start­ed to get bet­ter. We have sac­ri­ficed great­ly — trag­ic loss­es, far too many always — but we’ve also suc­ceed­ed in start­ing to reverse the momen­tum … in some sig­nif­i­cant places. 

“It isn’t irre­versible and it’s still frag­ile,” he added. “That’s real­ly where we are right now in this fight.” 

Mullen said he does­n’t expect “any great strate­gic shift” to come from the review due out in Decem­ber on progress in Afghanistan. 

The review, he said, is “focus­ing on hav­ing got­ten all the inputs right, how are we doing in imple­men­ta­tion. And it’s start­ing to move in the right direction.” 

In response to ques­tions about the impor­tance of hav­ing the U.S. Sen­ate rat­i­fy the new Strate­gic Arms Reduc­tion Treaty before the end of the year, Mullen not­ed that the lack of a treaty would endan­ger nation­al secu­ri­ty and threat­en the impor­tant new rela­tion­ship devel­op­ing between the Unit­ed States and Russia. 

“There’s no bet­ter exam­ple than this week­end, when [Russ­ian] Pres­i­dent [Dmit­ry] Medvedev was in Lis­bon with all of NATO and sup­port­ive of a mis­sile-defense capa­bil­i­ty in the future,” the chair­man said. “A year or two ago that just would not have been possible. 

“The Rus­sians have sup­port­ed us in Afghanistan — allowed us to trans­port some of our most sig­nif­i­cant equip­ment [through their ter­ri­to­ry],” he con­tin­ued. “They’ve also helped in oth­er ways that would­n’t be wide­ly known. The rela­tion­ship is matur­ing very specif­i­cal­ly, and it’s one that’s helped us in Iran. There’s an awful lot tied into the improve­ment of this relationship.” 

The new START also pro­motes trans­paren­cy, pre­dictabil­i­ty and under­stand­ing between two nations whose arse­nals com­prise more than 90 per­cent of the nuclear weapons in the world, he said. 

Mullen also addressed a pend­ing report about how the Defense Depart­ment should respond to a repeal of the so-called “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law asso­ci­at­ed with whether gays and les­bians should be able to serve open­ly in the U.S. mil­i­tary ser­vices. Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates announced today that the report would be released to Con­gress and the pub­lic Nov. 30. 

Many U.S. mil­i­tary allies, includ­ing mil­i­tary ser­vices in Eng­land, Cana­da, France, Aus­tralia and Israel, allow gays to serve open­ly, and Mullen said that infor­ma­tion would be part of the final report. 

Mullen said he per­son­al­ly sup­ports the repeal “because [the prac­tice] belies us as an insti­tu­tion. We val­ue integri­ty and ask­ing indi­vid­u­als to come in and lie about who they are today goes counter to who we are as an institution.” 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

Face­book and/or on Twit­ter

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →