10 jul. 2007

The Dutch policy is a very weak one, and it makes the enemy stronger


Via Wim de Bie, die het weer had van Arnon Grunberg, las ik een goed stuk over Afghanisthan uit de New Yorker door Jon Lee Anderson . 10 pagina's lang. Je vindt het artikel hier, maar hieronder een stukje er uit.
Ik ben het niet helemaal eens met de strekking van het stuk, maar het geeft duidelijk weer waar het om gaat, en zijn kritische geluiden over de Nederlandse Missie..

"In Uruzgan, the Dutch have advocated a policy of nonconfrontation and the pursuit of development projects. (The Dutch commander, Hans van Griensven, was quoted in the Times in April as telling his officers, “We’re not here to fight the Taliban. We’re here to make the Taliban irrelevant.”) A European official told me that the Dutch had doubts about Wankel’s mission; they feared that it might be counterproductive, because it was only about destroying poppies and did not include any of the other seven pillars of the national plan. “There was concern that it might crosscut other activities focussed on security and development,” he said.
Wankel was frustrated by the wariness of the Dutch. “Most or all Europeans are opposed to eradication—they’re into winning hearts and minds,” he said. “But it’s our view that it isn’t going to work. There has to be a measured, balanced use of force along with hearts and minds.” He conceded, however, that the Uruzgan operation fell squarely on the use-of-force side of the scale. Later, he told me, aid, seed, and fertilizer would be offered to the farmers around Tirin Kot, but not yet. Other Americans were frankly contemptuous of the Dutch policy, which they regarded as softheaded.
The Western official told me, “We don’t have a lot of time here. If we don’t get a handle on this soon, we’ll have a situation where you can’t get rid of it, like we had in Colombia for a while, where the narcos owned part of the government and controlled significant parts of the economy. And we have a lot of evidence of direct links with the Taliban. These problems, and organized crime, too, are being embedded here while they’re talking about ‘alternative development.

Soona Niloofar, a member of parliament from Uruzgan, found the debate over development versus forceful eradication somewhat abstract; she didn’t think much had been accomplished on either front. “Before the Dutch arrived, I told them, ‘You must do reconstruction and help the farmers.’ And the Ministry of Agriculture also spoke about helping them with alternative livelihoods. But nothing happened,” she said. “They have done little reconstruction. There is a big gap between them and the people.” The Dutch presence was felt only around Tirin Kot, she said, and, as far as she knew, the only significant things they had done were to repair a damaged bridge and set up a women’s sewing co√∂perative. (A spokesman for the Dutch government said that there had been other projects, including one called Cleaning Up Tirin Kot, which involved painting storefronts and helping with garbage disposal.) At the same time, security had deteriorated. “The Dutch policy is a very weak one, and it makes the enemy stronger,” she said."

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