One day before an international donors meeting in Kabul, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the challenges posed by defeating the Taliban and rebuilding Afghanistan "from nothing" were underestimated.
AFP - The international community failed to fully appreciate the difficulty of defeating the Taliban and rebuilding Afghanistan, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Monday.
"I believe the international community underestimated the mission in Afghanistan," Rasmussen said in an interview with Danish TV station TV2 News ahead of a conference of donors in Kabul Tuesday.
"That is why it is taking a long time to help the Afghans establish sufficient capacity to rebuild the country and ensure peace and stability," he said.
Representatives of 60 countries, including US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, will meet in the Afghan capital in a bid to build on pledges made at a conference in London in January.
"Keep in mind that after the fall of the Taliban in 2001, Afghan society had to be rebuilt from nothing," Rasmussen said.
The NATO chief said he was "optimistic" about the future of Afghanistan, but admitted that the losses suffered by the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force were "too high".
The death toll has reached 379 since the start of the year, which Rasmussen said was due to increasing numbers of soldiers being deployed to root out Taliban strongholds in Helmand and Kandahar.
"The Taliban know that if they lose these strongholds, they lose everything. That is why they are counterattacking hard, which unfortunately will lead to more deaths in the coming weeks and months", he said.
Date created : 2010-07-19