Mar 12, 2009

NATO must focus on Pakistan: Scheffer

‘Of course we need to look beyond Afghanistan... and especially Pakistan, with which we must deepen our engagement,’ Scheffer told a conference in Budapest on the 10th anniversary of the accession of Hungary, Poland, and the Czech Republic to Nato.
He also said Nato must ensure it has enough troops in Afghanistan as that country prepares for elections.
‘We must ensure that we have sufficient troops on the ground to enforce security both during and after the coming election period,’ Scheffer said.
He said Nato had considerable success in training and equipping the Afghan national army.
‘But there's a lot we and the international community as a whole can do on the civilian side as well in helping the Afghans to build functioning institutions, to fight crime and corruption and get a better grip on the narcotics problem,’ he said.
‘Afghanistan is one key area where we have obvious common interests but there are other areas as well, such as the fight against terrorism (and) piracy,’ he added.
Nato agreed on March 5 to resume formal ties with Russia, suspended after Moscow's war with Georgia, in the hope of winning greater Russian support for its struggle to stabilise Afghanistan.

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