Afghanistan not ready for power transfer - press

A US soldier passes a group of Afghan people in West Now Ruzi village A gradual power transfer from Nato to Afghan forces is about to start at the beginning of 2011

The announcement by Nato members of a strategy to transfer responsibility for the fight against the Taliban to Afghan forces by 2014 received a mixed reception in the regional press.

Commentators in Afghanistan worried that the country's forces were unprepared to take on the task. An editorial in Pakistan argued that the plan was doomed to failure without the support of Afghanistan's neighbours.

Commentators in Turkey and Iran focused on Nato's endorsement of a missile defence system shielding all Nato countries in Europe and North America. Turkey pushed for a clause in the agreement that means Iran will not be specifically named as a threat.


Even if control is ceded to Afghan forces in 2014, it will be a symbolic act. Afghan forces will not be ready even years after 2014 to defend Afghanistan against neighbours with nuclear capabilities. A decade has passed since the international community started talking about building an Afghan army but not even a single training centre has been built. The Afghan army has no aircraft. The national budget is not enough to pay army and police salaries. Therefore, the hope that Afghanistan will be able to independently defend itself will not be realised in 2014.


Experts call [the plan to transfer leadership by 2014] overambitious, citing the inability of Afghan forces and its lack of modern military hardware. Moreover, large areas of the country are held by the armed opposition. Taliban, al-Qaeda and Hezb-e Eslami have not ended their resistance yet and Afghanistan's neighbours are dreaming of prevailing over the country once again. In view of the above challenges, how would it be possible for the government of Afghanistan to successfully discharge its security responsibilities?


Pakistan's 'presence' at the Lisbon summit has been likened to Banquo's ghost. Without the Pakistani military establishment's cooperation, the US/Nato strategy in Afghanistan promises to come a spectacular cropper. No amount of nudging, persuasion and carrots have dislodged the Pakistani military from its India-phobic pursuit of strategic depth in Afghanistan. Given the withdrawal of foreign troops between 2011 and 2014, this scenario will continue, indefinitely.


Pakistan will probably welcome the result of the meeting, as the government competes with Nato in subservience [to the US]. But the fact is that 2014 is too far off as a realistic date for withdrawal. Since Pakistan is suffering the most, it should not complacently accept this withdrawal date and should call for an earlier withdrawal than planned. Not only will that suit Pakistan's interests but it will also lessen the suffering of the Afghan people.


Due to the economic crisis, the US cannot afford the missile shield plan, so it is trying to make Europe and Russia share the costs… the US is seeking to dominate Europe and Russia and remove them from global affairs… The US is looking for accomplices in its global crimes


A major part of Afghanistan is no longer under the control of its central government and Nato forces and this has infuriated people in the US and Europe whose wealth is being burnt in Afghanistan in a useless war… The Afghanistan trap once swallowed the Soviet Union which left the country [Afghanistan] after enduring heavy losses. It seems that this time it is America's turn.


Turkey's demands for the missile defence system have been met... no-one is going to call Iran an "enemy state". Turkey will be relieved. In other words, the weapon which would be used against Iran when necessary will stay on Turkish territory but we will not say that it is aimed against Iran.


It is hard to believe… but it seems that Turkey has acquired almost everything it asked from Nato... not only has there been no Turkey-Nato crisis, Turkey has in fact come to the fore in Lisbon as the most influential member of Nato after the US. The announcement by Nato members of a strategy to transfer responsibility for the fight against the Taliban to Afghan forces by 2014 received a mixed reception in the regional press.

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaux abroad.

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