Munich: The head of North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or Nato, said on Sunday that the alliance’s troubled mission in Afghanistan shows it is vital to boost ties with nations such as China, India and Pakistan.
Drawing from flaws exposed in Afghanistan, where Nato is struggling to hold off a Taliban and Al Qaeda insurgency, Anders Fogh Rasmussen called for the military alliance to become the hub of a broad global security coalition.
“This is a key lesson we are learning in Afghanistan today... We need an entirely new compact between all the actors on the security stage,” he said at a major security conference in Munich, Germany. “India has a stake in Afghan stability. China, too. And both could help further develop and rebuild Afghanistan. The same goes for Russia. Basically, Russia shares our security concerns.”
Nato and its partners have in excess of 110,000 troops in Afghanistan, but they have been unable to put down the insurgency more than eight years after a US-led coalition ousted the Taliban from power.
Greater support: Nato secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen (centre) at the 46th Conference on Security Policy in Munich on Sunday. John Macdougall / AFP
Under a recent switch of strategy, almost 40,000 extra troops are streaming into the conflict-torn country, aiming to protect civilians and win their support, rather than hunt down fighters, many re-supplied from Pakistan.
Following last month’s conference in London, the strategy also involves a “surge” of civilian experts, backed by redoubled efforts from major donors, financial institutions and bodies such as the United Nations and the European Union.
“We cannot meet today’s security requirements effectively without engaging much more actively and systematically with other important players on the international scene,” Rasmussen said. “The alliance should become the hub of a network of security partnerships and a centre for consultation on international security issues—even issues on which the alliance might never take action.”
Rasmussen underlined that he did not seek to replace the work of the United Nations, and his stance was backed by German defence minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg.
“We don’t want to turn Nato into a global security agency,” the minister said.