Archive for the ‘Miliband’ Category

Rice on unannounced visit to Afghanistan

February 7, 2008
By Anne Gearan, AP Diplomatic Writer

KABUL, Afghanistan – Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and British Foreign Secretary David Miliband arrived in Afghanistan on an unannounced visit Thursday, carrying a joint message of support and prodding to Afghan officials as the U.S. continued a drive to recruit more NATO troops.

This is an image release by the International Security Assistance ...
This is an image release by the International Security Assistance Force of US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice shaking hands with Canadian Major-General Marc Lessard, the Commander of Regional Command (South), during her visit to the Regional Command (South) Headquarters at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan Thursday Feb. 7, 2008. Rice was on the visit with Britain’s Foreign Secretary David Miliband. Rice said Thursday the Afghan government must meet its responsibilities in fighting a resurgent Taliban as the United States and Britain lead an effort to boost the number of NATO combat forces. In a show of unity, Rice was making the point as she and David Miliband got a firsthand look at the front lines of the NATO-led fight against insurgents in Kandahar, visiting an alliance airfield in this former Taliban stronghold in southern Afghanistan.
(AP Photo/Liepke Plankcke/ Royal Netherlands Air Force, ISAF, HO)

Rice and Miliband flew together to the Afghan capital from London. They were seeing Afghan President Hamid Karzai and other officials amid a welter of outside assessments that progress in the six-year war is stalling.

The two made clear they expect cooperation from the Karzai government, widely seen as weak.
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US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (L) and British Foreign ...
Prime Minister Gordon Brown (R) and Foreign Secretary David Miliband (L) with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at 10 Downing Street in London. Rice and Miliband travelled to the heart of the Taliban insurgency during a surprise trip to Afghanistan.
(AFP/Pool/Sang Tan)


NATO urged to do more in Afghanistan

February 7, 2008

From combined dispatches
(Peace and freedom thanks AP, Reuters, CNN, ABC)
Senior U.S. officials yesterday turned up the heat on NATO allies to do more in the war against Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan, warning that a planned influx of 3,000 Marines is unlikely to halt the deterioration of security there.

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Organisation du traité de l’Atlantique Nord

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in London that Western countries must prepare their citizens for a long fight, while in Washington, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said a failure in Afghanistan would put “a cloud over the future” of NATO.
The remarks came amid a drumbeat of discouraging news on several fronts, including a new U.N. report predicting another bumper opium crop that will help to fund the insurgency.
Afghan Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak said during a visit to Tallinn, Estonia, that more foreign troops are needed. The threat from the Taliban “is much higher than anticipated in 2001,” he told reporters.
Germany agreed yesterday to boost its force in the country by 200 troops but refused to let them serve in the south where they might face combat. In Canada, which has 2,500 troops fighting in the south, it became clear that an effort to extend the mission could bring down the Conservative-led government.
A British think tank said that country’s relief efforts in Afghanistan were failing, undermining military gains.
Britain’s Department for International Development in embattled Helmand province “is dysfunctional, totally dysfunctional. Basically it should be removed and its budget should go to the army, which might be better able to deliver assistance,” said the president of the Senlis Council, which has long experience in Afghanistan.
The Taliban staged more than 140 suicide missions last year, the most since it was ousted from power in late 2001 by the U.S.-led invasion that followed the September 11 attacks. “I do think the alliance is facing a real test here,” Miss Rice said at a press conference with British Foreign Secretary David Miliband in London. “Our populations need to understand this is not a peacekeeping mission” but rather a long-term fight against extremists, she said. 

Mr. Gates said he was not optimistic that the addition of 3,000 Marines to Afghanistan this spring will be enough to put the NATO-led war effort back on track. He has sent letters to every alliance defense minister asking for more troops and equipment but has not received any replies, he said during a Senate hearing. 

All 26 NATO nations have soldiers in Afghanistan and all agree the mission is their top priority, but only the Canadians, British, Australians, Dutch and Danes “are really out there on the line and fighting,” Mr. Gates said.

He said he would be “a nag on this issue” when he meets NATO defense ministers today and tomorrow in Europe.

But there was little evidence yesterday that the allies are prepared to increase their contributions.

In Berlin, Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung told reporters Germany will send around 200 combat soldiers to northern Afghanistan this summer to replace a Norwegian unit, but would not move them to the nation’s endangered south. 

“If we neglected the north,” where conditions are relatively peaceful, “we would commit a decisive mistake,” Mr. Jung said. 

In Ottawa, a spokeswoman for Opposition Leader Stephane Dion said Mr. Dion had been told by Prime Minister Stephen Harper that a parliamentary vote to extend Canada’s mission would be treated as a matter of confidence, meaning the minority government will fall if it fails. 

Canada has already said it will not extend the mission if other NATO countries do not increase their contributions.

In Tokyo, the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime predicted that this year’s production of opium poppies would be close or equal to last year’s record of 477,000 acres. Taliban rebels receive up to $100 million from the drug trade, the agency estimated. 

The Taliban “are deriving an enormous funding for their war by imposing … a 10 percent tax on production,” said Antonio Maria Costa, executive director of the U.N. agency.

Mr. Gates told the Senate hearing that he worries “a great deal” about NATO evolving into “a two-tiered alliance, in which you have some allies willing to fight and die to protect peoples’ security, and others who are not.”

Overall, there are about 43,000 troops in the NATO-led coalition, including 16,000 U.S. troops. An additional 13,000 U.S. troops are outside NATO command, training Afghan forces and hunting al Qaeda terrorists.

SecDef Gates, Admiral Mullen Testify Before SASC

Pakistan Condemns Talk in U.S. of Tribal Area Incursion

July 26, 2007

Dear John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom

Dear Sir,

Hoping you and your team will be alright.

Situation is our areas is still critical as the government of Pakistan is showing lethergy in the war on terrorism. They been hinting at the possibility of holding talks with Taliban and terrorists. Their statesments are a clear proof that Taliban and terrorists are their men.

According to some of the leaders, Pakistan will not allow the US forces to conduct operation in the tribal areas. I want to bring in your kind notice that tribal areas is not the part of Pakistan. The areas are never considered by the government of Pakistan as part of the country and this is the reason that they are still lawless.

According to a report, Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri has denounced the US statement regarding operation on Pakistani soil and termed it as irresponsible.

Addressing a news conference with Britain’s Foreign Secretary David Miliband here, Kasuri said, “such statements are irresponsible and should not be made.”

“It may be election season in the United States but it should not be at our expense,” he remarked.

He said that Pakistan has joined the war on terror to protect its own interests and not others.

Pakistan is country of 160 million people who reject terrorism. Pakistan army was operating in tribal areas and negotiations are underway with tribal leaders to restore peace in these areas.

Pakistan-India relationship, regional situation and other issues were also discussed during the morning meeting with British Foreign Secretart David Miliband, said Kasuri. Both the countries have consented to boost bilateral relations.

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said that various issues have been discussed during meetings with President Pervez Musharraf and Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri.

He said that both the countries are enjoying cordial relations, which would be further strengthened.

David Miliband said that Britain would grant 480 million pounds aid to Pakistan within three years. Dear Sir, if Pakistan is insisting on holding talks then it should hold talks with Peace and Freedom. Really on of the its members has been suffering at the hands of Taliban and terrorists. The people of tribal areas, I assure you will accept the decision of the Peace and Freedom.

Thank you very much. Yours sincerely,

Muhammad Khurshid
Khar, Bajaur Agency,Tribal Areas, Pakistan

Pakistan Crisis Deepens

British FM in Pakistan for terror talks

July 26, 2007

ISLAMABAD (AFP) – British Foreign Secretary David Miliband was meeting Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf for talks on combating Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants along the Afghan frontier.

Miliband arrived in Islamabad late Wednesday for his first official overseas visit since he took office around a month ago, a British Foreign Ministry statement said.

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Pakistan Crisis Deepens