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Afghanistan has 'no military solution,' German envoy says

Published: 19 Nov 2010 09:02 GMT+01:00

Speaking ahead of a major NATO summit to discuss the long-running conflict, Ambassador Michael Steiner told daily Der Tagesspiegel that the west had in the past deluded itself about the goal of a democratic Afghanistan. A war for such a goal could not actually be won, he said shortly before the Friday summit in Lisbon.

“Everyone knows that there can be no military solution in Afghanistan,” Steiner said. “The west has in the past indulged in illusions. But now a realistic goal is being pursued: effective stability in Afghanistan and a guarantee of essential human rights. There is not going to be a Switzerland in the Hindu Kush.”

While there had been military achievements against the Taliban insurgency, the essence of the problem in Afghanistan had to be solved politically, through a reconciliation of political opponents in the country, he added.

Leaders from NATO’s 28 member nations are meeting in the Portuguese capital of Lisbon to discuss, among other things, the future strategy of the US-led International Security Assistance Force. The war has been running for more than nine years, during which ambitions for the future of the country as democracy have been scaled back and questions have arisen about the western-backed President Hamid Karzai.

Germany has just under 5,000 troops currently stationed in Afghanistan. Earlier this week, Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said the government aimed to start withdrawing them in 2012. NATO members will discuss in Lisbon a plan to hand over full responsibility for security to the Afghan government by 2014.

The Local/dw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

11:15 November 19, 2010 by mixxim
This was discovered by the British in the 19th Century, the Russians in the 20th and the Europeans in the 21st. When will the US learn?
14:10 November 19, 2010 by catjones
Thanks for pointing out the obvious. Where would the world be without your insight?
14:46 November 19, 2010 by pigsnuck
Not in Afghanistan. ;)
15:29 November 19, 2010 by mixxim
if you read revelations, it is quite clear that the Chinese will overrun it in the 22 cent.
15:33 November 19, 2010 by VMan
The goal is not to win the war hands down. The goal is to train the Afgan national Army to deal on it's own, stabilize the government so that the Afghan people have confidence in their Government, and drive out the Taliban from certain areas, and prevent them from havinga foothold in the country. Again, do not misinterpret the goal of NATO and the USA. The Afhan government, NATO, and USA estimate that it will take a couple of more years to get the Afghan Military to the standard of security of it's country. Those are the goals, plain and simple.
18:16 November 19, 2010 by dbert4
@Vman ...aka Spin doctor - You're full of schit, or else have drank the US Koolaid until ou don't think for yourself.

The US and NATO aren't fighting the Taliban, they're fighting Afgan culture. As pointed out by Mixxin and Catjones, good luck with that.

In the next couple years, Karzi will either fee to Dubai with has corrupt billions or be hung like the Russian president puppet before him. In either case the US spent a trillion dollars for no reason. Thank you Bush and Cheney...you tools!!
21:19 November 19, 2010 by DrGideonPolya
Sensible comments by Ambassador Michel Steiner (since April 2010 the Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan for the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs).

Germany says that the Afghan War is unwinnable and plans to leave by 2012. Even war criminal and warmonger Obama wants to start pulling out by 2011.

However traditionally anti-Asian and now ferociously anti-Arab anti-Semitic Apartheid Australia wants to stay until 2020, a bipartisan message that will be taken to the Portugal NATO meeting by Australia's warmongering, pro-war, pro-Zionist, pro-coal, pro-gas, anti-environment, human rights-violating PM Julia Gillard.

According to UNICEF 311,000 under-5 year old Afghan infants die each year in Australia- and NATO-occupied Afghanistan - childless PM Julia Gillard is helping the war criminal US Alliance violently impose childlessness on about 300,000 Afghan women in each year. Post-invasion under-5 infant deaths in Afghanistan now total 2.6 million (in contrast mass murderer General Pinochet "only" murdered 3,200 Chilean socialists). The annual death rate is 7% for Afghan infants in US-occupied Afghanistan as compared to 4% for Poles in Nazi-occupied Poland and 5% for French Jews in Nazi-occupied France.

After the murder in WW2 of 30 million Slavs, Jews and Gypsies, in 1945 Germany adopted a post-Holocaust protocol summarized by the acronym CAAAA (C4A) of Cessation of the killing, Acknowledgment of the crimes, Apology, Amends and Assertion "never again to anyone". Leaving Occupied Afghanistan is not sufficient - decent German citizens must set up authoritative and prestigious New Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunals to try all those involved in the US Afghan Genocide (4.9 million post-invasion violent deaths and non-violent avoidable deaths from deprivation), most notoriously Bush and Obama (US), Blair, Brown and Cameron (UK), Sarkozy (France), Angela Merkel (Germany; no angel), Harper (Canada) and Howard, Rudd and Gillard (genocidally anti-Asian Apartheid Australia).
22:35 November 19, 2010 by Foreign interest.
Not so sensible comments by Gideon Polya, who must be devoting nine-tenths of his life obsessively writing on Australian newspaper blogs and now in usual extremist mode, bad-mouthing the continent on this one. Australia is not "ferociously" anti-anything, nor is it an apartheid country. If Polya doesn't like living in one of the safest, economically sound and most sociable countries in the world, accepting all that Australia offers, he should leave. Please do.

Gillard I believe to be a self-interested, publicly disfavoured and very temporary choice of political leader, quite out of her depth. But her childlessness, whether by choice or for any other reason, is absolutely none of Polya's business.
00:52 November 20, 2010 by rgmx4u
@Foreign interest

Yes, "one of the safest and most sociable countries in the world"? You are the spin doctor from the other extreme. Blind on one eye, you can't see the more than 5000 refugees currently incarcerated in Detention Camps, some of them up to 10 years, not for having committed a crime, but for no other reason than seeking refuge in Australia, while the majority of its population supports this policy with the most racist and hateful comments imaginable. Two days ago " Chinese woman released after 9 1/2 years from detention". Or did this escape your attention?
04:28 November 20, 2010 by DavidtheNorseman
@DGP - nice try. Islam on Islam violence has caused these unnecessary deaths. Trying to blame them on those trying to intervene to stop the madness is the equivalent of blaming the Americans and British for the Nazi madness.

God will destroy the Taliban, Iran and their ilk in His own time.

@rgmx4u - Australia is one of the best places on Earth to live unless you are a criminal or terrorist.
04:56 November 20, 2010 by DrGideonPolya
@ rgmxd4u -well said. There are 2 kinds of Australians - decent guys who demand human rights for all and the rest who ignore gross violations of human rights by Apartheid Australia.

Whereas many Germans in 1945 may have honestly stated of the WW2 Holocaust that "they didn't know" the same excuse doesn't wash with present-day, look-the-other-way, genocide-complicit and genocide-ignoring Australians because the Awful Truth is just a few mouse-clicks away.

Thus Google UNICEF and you will quickly find that 311,000 under-5 year old Afghan infants die in Australia- and NATO-occupied Afghanistan each year, 90% avoidably and due to Australian and NATO war crimes commensurate with that of the Nazi era.

Simply because Apartheid Australian Mainstream media won't report it won't make the Awful Truth go away. Apartheid Australia has helped the US and Apartheid Israel generate 23 million Muslim refugees and when any approach Apartheid Australia by boat they are indefinitely imprisoned in Concentration Camps.

Sure Gillard's childlessness was her own business - that is until she started helping the war criminal US Alliance to violently impose childlessness on 300,000 Afghan women every year.

Sanctions and Boycotts were successfully applied to US-, UK-, Apartheid Israel- and Apartheid Australia-supported Apartheid South Africa for "merely" denying one-man-one-vote to Africans and Asians. The Sharpeville Massacre by Apartheid South Africa. "only" killed 69 Africans. "Democratic fascist" Apartheid Australia and its NATO allies kill about 1,200 Afghans every day through imposed deprivation (most of the dead are women and children).
05:43 November 20, 2010 by DavidtheNorseman
@DGP the Taliban and your buddies the Iranians are causing all those deaths, not the brave soldiers from the West who are trying to keep them alive, mate.

This can all stop any time that the Islamo-fascists give up on their crusade to murder the Israelites and recognize that ALL Israel belongs to the Hebrews.

There is more than enough land in Arab hands alone, not to mention Persians, etc. to easily house their supposed brethern but 60+ years on the Islamo-fascists are still using the "Palestinians" as a farcical tradgedy rather than accepting them as permanent immigrants as they ought to.

Your mates, DGP, are the killers. Take the responsibility and change your ways before it's too late and God decides to do to you as he did to your Nazi soul-brothers.
05:45 November 21, 2010 by HollyMacarony
@DavidtheNorseman

So you are saying that Palestinians don't have the right to exist , and yet you want to talk about Nazis???

If Palestinians cant have a state, than the same goes for the Jews.

Israelis will get what they deserve... their arrogance will get the best of them like it did in the past.
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