German Government Wants New Afghan Policy

Chancellor Merkel’s Cabinet voted to send an additional 1,000 troops to Afghanistan, but there was considerable discussion concerning the need to re-evaluate Afghan policy and explore new directions. Over the weekend, British General Mark Caleton-Smith was quoted as saying the war in Afghanistan could not be won and the goal should be “reducing it to a manageable level of insurgency.” His remarks were derided by US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates who said there was “no reason to be defeatist.” At the same time reports are circulating that President Karzai has reached out to Taliban leaders in hope he can negotiate a way out of the current situation which grows more deadly with each passing day. His efforts at peace and reconciliation are being supported by the Saudi Arabia government.

The right wing Die Welt expressed praise for General Carleton-Smith who “had the courage to express an uncomfortable truth. The war in Afghanistan can not be won by military means.” The left wing Die Tageszeitung urged Germany to face up to reality–the strategy they(Coalition forces) have been following has failed.” This view was echoed by the financial daily, Handesblatt which wrote, “For all intents and purposes, the military solution to the crisis in Afghanistan appears to have failed.”

Hopefully, a new American president will face the reality that current policies are not working.