The United States has too often left allies to suffer the consequences of flawed policies in Afghanistan and must now negotiate peace with the resurgent Taliban, Poland’s defence ministry advisor said.
“We must limit military actions and fight against our real enemies exclusively. The Taliban are not our enemies,” Roman Kuzniar, foreign policy professor and military advisor to Defence Minister Bogdan Klich, told Reuters in an interview.
“They have not attacked us. It’s the terrorists. We must talk to the Taliban and to all of them not only the moderate ones.”
The United States and its allies invaded Afghanistan after September, 2001, overthrowing the Taliban government that had given shelter to al Qaeda militants responsible for the attacks. In recent months the Taliban has grown in strength and NATO countries including Poland have suffered growing casualties.
Kuzniar, whose country has 2000 soldiers in Afghanistan and is now reviewing its mission there, said the army were calling for “more troops, more troops” to win the war.
“But it doesn’t work that way,” he said.
“The mission has been left to the army and we have lost political control over it. We cannot seek the victory there by more and more bloodshed.”
Kuzniar said US President Barack Obama had not yet taken a decision on new Afghanistan strategy after the commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan which now has more than 100 000 troops there requested more soldiers.
“General Stanley McChrystal’s conclusions are what they are, but nobody knows what Obama will do about it. This is a time for diplomacy and politics, also for Poland,” Kuzniar said.
“We must demand that all the allies’ views are taken into account while discussing Afghanistan, not only the US one. Too many times the US has spilt milk and we had to clean it up.”
Fight real enemies
Instead, Kuzniar said, NATO should seek to engage all powers in Afghanistan, as well as its neighbours, in dialogue about the country’s future.
The shrinking support for the war, rising casualties and spending amid economic downturn, has produced more pressure on Warsaw to pull out. But Poland’s centre-right government so far said any such decision would only be taken within NATO.
Mirroring the situation in many other countries, the mission is now backed by only 12 percent of Poles, while around three-fourths do not believe it would bring peace to Afghanistan. Poland has lost 13 soldiers so far since the invasion.
“The surveys are justified the people see the mission is not going the right way. We have great losses on all sides` civilians, us, our enemies. We must take it back from army and regain political control over it. We need more brains there.”