NATO and the Afghan Transition

In the eyes of many observers, a NATO failure to consolidate peace in Afghanistan would call into question the organization’s perceived status as the world’s most effective military alliance precisely at a time when NATO leaders are eager to demonstrate its potential contributions to global security with an Asian-focused Washington. But the Alliance faces many challenges in Afghanistan, ranging from the insurgents’ resilience in key sectors of the country to the loss of support for its presence among many members of the Afghan public, highlighted by the massive protests and insider attacks by Afghans following the burning of Korans by U.S. prison guards, several mass killings of civilians by NATO actions in Afghanistan, and various public opinion polls. NATO’s relations with Pakistan remain strained over cross-border incidents and Islamabad’s continuing terrorist ties. Above all, the Afghan government and its military and police forces still experience major difficulties in providing security, good governance, economic development, and the rule of law. Despite extensive foreign training programs and other NATO support, the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) still have at best modest capacity to defeat the Taliban insurgents without the continued and extensive assistance of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). NATO needs more reliable and effective Afghan partners to achieve a successful transition to a sovereign, safe and secure Afghanistan able to survive without continued NATO support.

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Moscow Ponders European Security

NATO and Russia continue to cooperate on many issues, especially within the framework of the NATO-Russia Council (NRC). Primary areas of collaboration include maritime piracy, military exchanges, training exercises, terrorism, crisis management, WMD nonproliferation, small arms control, theatre missile defense, maritime rescue, defense reform, civil emergencies, and new security threats. In February, the heads of the NATO Military Committee and the Russian General Staff opened a direct communications hotline in their latest endeavor to promote mutual transparency and collaboration.

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Cyber threats, energy security and NATO’s Article 5

ICDS researcher Maria Mälksoo presented her paper on the possibility of regarding cyber and energy security challenges in the context of NATO’s Article 5 at the conference ‘The Future of NATO’s Nuclear Deterrent: The New Strategic Concept and the 2010 NPT Review Conference’ at the NATO Defence College in Rome, on 2 March 2010.

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