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2012年5月24日 (木)

NATO会議 長期的アフガン支援が必要だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (May. 24, 2012)
Long-term assistance key to achieving Afghan peace
NATO会議 長期的アフガン支援が必要だ(5月23日付・読売社説)

Leaders from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization ended their meeting in Chicago on Monday after affirming the deadline for troop withdrawal from Afghanistan and pledging to provide long-term assistance for the troubled country.

The Chicago Summit Declaration adopted at the meeting clearly states that the combat mission of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) "will be concluded at the end of 2014" and the public safety forces of the Afghan government will start leading the combat missions in the middle of next year.

To make this possible, NATO must make greater efforts to bolster the training and equipment of the Afghan force.

Despite the presentation of a deadline for the pullout of ISAF combat units, there is no sign of combat with the Taliban coming to an end. To realize the withdrawal as scheduled, improvement of public safety is needed more than anything else.


Transition to self-reliance

Last year, the ISAF began a full transfer of security control to the Afghan side. We urge Afghan forces to enhance their capabilities and become able to stand on their own feet as soon as possible.

Given the protracted hostilities and the growing number of victims, public opinion has grown louder among NATO member nations for the early withdrawal of their troops from Afghanistan.

French President Francois Hollande pledged during his election campaign to advance the pullout of his country's troops by one year to "by the end of this year." He reaffirmed this commitment during the NATO meeting.

But if France resorts to early withdrawal without taking into consideration the Afghan situation, there is concern other countries will follow suit. If NATO's solidarity is weakened by this, it will only embolden the Taliban.

Afghanistan should never again be a hotbed for international terrorist organizations. Cooperation in the international community is indispensable in this regard.

The Taliban is deeply rooted in local tribal communities. Even if the country is brought under control militarily, it will not bring about real peace. The United States must continue exploring the possibility of holding dialogues with moderate elements of the Taliban, thereby laying the foundation for realizing national reconciliation in Afghanistan.


Manifestation of political will

NATO has decided to provide strong long-term assistance even beyond 2014. This decision is significant as the manifestation of its political will to help stabilize the Afghan situation.

In his talks with NATO officials after the summit meeting, Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba expressed the Japanese government's policy of continuing assistance for the Afghan security forces. He sought NATO's cooperation in achieving a successful result in the International Conference on Economic Assistance to Afghanistan to be held in Tokyo in July.

The Democratic Party of Japan-led government has been implementing a pledge it made after its inauguration in 2009 to provide about 5 billion dollars (about 400 billion yen) in assistance to Afghanistan over five years from that year. It is necessary to examine whether the assistance has been provided effectively.

The government should call on the Afghan government, which is suspected to be riddled with corruption, to become more transparent in revealing how it utilizes the aid it receives.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, May 23, 2012)
(2012年5月23日01時27分  読売新聞)


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