– Integrated Missions and alternative strategies in the case of Afghanistan – will soon take place
As outlined in Civil-military Cooperation in Multinational and Interagency Operation by Kristin M. Haugevik and Benjamin de Carvalho at NUPI, there are many challenges in Integrated Missions.
Afghanistan is a landlocked country in an inter-state war (with no peace agreement), with hostile surroundings. NATO leads the ISAF peace-enforcing operation, while the US is running its own war, the «Operation Enduring Freedom», in the South and East of Afghanistan under the same leader. The United Nations’ mandate is limited to political and humanitarian issues (guided by UNAMA).
According to Espen Barth Eide in the Norwegian Ministry of Defence, there are at least 3 military strategies running parallelly in Afghanistan. The War against Terror led by the US, secondly the British/Canadian approach, which is a long lasting counter-insurgency operation, and at last the Germans, who are running a robust peacekeeping operation.
These differences in approach have put NATO under strain. The different strategies can be evidenced in the 35 different PRTs (Provincial Reconstruction Teams) that are operated by the US and NATO. All PRTs have a national element of strategy from the various donor countries.
The Economist, however, writes that it is the Afghan government that remains the biggest obstacle to success. The magazine says «rampant corruption and declining popularity of Karzai’s government put attempts to channel more aid through official channels on a shaky ground.»
«Poor coordination among aid agencies, an overlap in some areas, quick fix schemes that haven’t been sustained, and vanity projects designed to please domestic audience in forging countries rather than addressing this one’s urgent needs» are the most serious problems according to columnist Rosie DiManno in the Canadian newspaper Toronto Star.
The International Medical Corps is deeply saddened to announce that three of its staff members were killed and another severely injured in Eastern Afghanistan on Friday , July 4th. While details of the attack remain uncertain, early indications point to a coalition air strike, writes the International Medical Corps on their webpage.
As the conflict evolves casualties rise, both military and civilian. Since 2001 a total of 901 NATO/US-soldiers has been killed (July 29th 2008), and the total number of civilian deaths counts to thousands, although the excact number is unknown.. In June 2008 the UN reported that at least 700 Afghan civilians lost their lives so far in 2008, by direct consequences of the fighting.
As a consequence of the conflict (together with drought provoked by high temperatures and high food prices), the country has entered into a food crisis. In July 2008 USAID reports that nearly a third of the Afghan population is chronically food insecure. It could lead to a huge humanitarian catastrophe.
Afghanistan will be the biggest challenge for Norway both military and when it comes to development aid in the years to come. Norway will spend approx. 1,3 billion for the military engagement and will spend 750 million Norwegian croner in development aid in Afghanistan in 2008.
On July 7th 2008 a suicide car bomb hit the Indian Embassy in Kabul, killing 41 people and wounding 139. Afghan authorities said it was coordinated with foreign agents in the region, a likely reference to Pakistan.
This incident put forward a very urgent question: what is needed to bring peace in Aghanistan? There are obviously innumerous obstacles that have to be brought down before peace can be achieved, but here are some elements that we retain crucial to meet that end:
A part of Taliban must be brought into the peace process, to secure democratic cooperation among the parties.
A comprehensive approach with a regional conference with all players in Afghanistan and surrounding states participating.
A clear division of roles: ISAF/NATO and ANA to deliver security, Aid agencies to deliver aid and the UN and other international actors to help the Afghan government to modernize the state and to curb corruption.
The Norwegian Peace Council and NTL will put focus on the Norwegian Afghanistan-strategies in a seminar held at Folkets Hus September 15h, 2008.
Seminar on international operations
– Integrated Missions and alternative strategies in the case of Afghanistan –
September 15th at Folkets Hus, Oslo
09.30-09.45: Welcome and practical info by the Norwegian Peace Council and NTL
09.45-10.10: Introductory speech by a representative from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
10.10-10.15: Short break
10.15-12.00: Three approaches:
-Espen Barth-Eide, Forsvarsdepartementet on NATOs Comprehensive Approach and PRT-strategies i Afghanistan. Opponent Tim Foxley, SIPRI, Sweden
-Percy Westerlund EUs ambassadeur og leader of the EU-commissions delegation to Norway and Island.
Title: EU as a significant civil actor in Afghanistan with special weigth on security forces and the Afghan national police forces.
Opponent Henning Høgseth, NUPI
Representant fra International Alert, London on alternative strategies in Afghanistan. Opponent generalmajor Roar Sundseth (FOHK)
Questions and answers
13.00-15.15: Parallel sessions:
1. Challenges in intergrated missions – Consequences for the civil society
In the panel:
Petter Eide, Norwegian Peoples Aid
Leif Petter Sommerset, Norwegian Army
Niels Nagelhus Schia, NUPI
Espen Barth-Eide, Norwegian MoD
Arne Strand, PRIO
Representative from the Afghan Ambassade
2. EU, NATO and Norwegian strategies
In the panel:
Tim Foxley, SIPRI
Cecilie Hellestveit. Norwegian Centre for Human Rights, UiO
Henning Høgseth , NUPI
Percy Westerlund EUs ambassadør og leder av EU-kommisjonens delegasjon til Norge og Island.
Representant fra International Alert
Generalmajor Roar Sundseth, (FOHK)
15.15-15.45: Sum up from the plenary in the morning and a short presentation of the outcomes of the two following sessions.