PanARMENIAN.Net - The newly elected president of France François Hollande secured early withdrawal of French troops from Afghanistan by end of 2012, despite overall resistance of U.S. and NATO to this.
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said French exit will not lead to similar moves by other states to take away their troops from Afghanistan. It is worth noting that withdrawal of French forces was a key point of Hollande's election campaign. For her part, Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel criticized the French decision urging NATO member-states and their allies show no rush in leaving Afghanistan.
Following Hollande's statement, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid asked NATO states to follow the French example. The French troops currently amounting to 3300, entered Afghanistan in 2001; 82 French soldiers were killed there since. Over 100000 troops of NATO member-states and their allies are now present in Afghanistan, their exit scheduled for the end of 2014.
The future of Afghanistan after ISAF withdrawal is easy to predict; Afghans are quite experienced in turning their country into an utter chaos. NATO forces were sort of containment for various local groups; however, this could not last forever. All talks on training the local police for peace are nothing but another “American dream”, never to come true. Multinational and multi-clannish features of Afghanistan are the main obstacles hindering the peaceful future of the country.
Pashtuns, Hazāras, Tajiks and Uzbeks fail to come to terms with each other here; first, due to fundamental differences in the Islam branches they practice, and second because key players will never let them come to agreement.
NATO is now drafting a strategy plan for Afghanistan after the coalition forces move away in 2014, including also USD 4.1 billion funding for the Afghan army for 10 years.
In addition, heads of states participating in Chicago summit adopted a very vague resolution on protracted conflicts in post-Soviet states, calling for constructive actions and respect to current negotiation formats.
“The persistence of protracted regional conflicts in South Caucasus and the Republic of Moldova continues to be a matter of great concern for the Alliance.With respect to all these conflicts, we urge all parties to engage constructively and with reinforced political will in peaceful conflict resolution, and to respect the current negotiation formats. We call on them all to avoid steps that undermine regional security and stability. We remain committed in our support of the territorial integrity, independence, and sovereignty of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and the Republic of Moldova, and will also continue to support efforts towards a peaceful settlement of these regional conflicts, based upon these principles and the norms of international law, the United Nations Charter, and the Helsinki Final Act,” the Chicago Summit Declaration read.
The statement conveys nothing new; it is exactly the same as the one passed last year in Lisbon. One can even say that statements voiced by the OSCE Minsk Group and NATO are not original at all; same is the case with other international structures. So, a reasonable question arises as to whether the Armenian President needed to attend the NATO summit, provided that everything is already arranged, and Armenia cannot overpower the Turkish-Azerbaijani alliance all alone, the latter being of utmost importance for NATO with regard to cargo transit to Afghanistan. Some Armenian experts claimed that Serzh Sargsyan had to go to Chicago in order to come up with some clarifications...Would it make any sense, explaining anything to anybody? The Armenian leader was perhaps right in missing the Chicago meeting. Same refers to Russian president Vladimir Putin who had no wish to take part in bargaining over anti-missile defense system placement in Europe.
According to Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian, the wording regarding the protracted regional conflicts does not comply with statements and decisions adopted on Nagorno Karabakh conflict resolution over the past years within the OSCE.
“It may not only damage the negotiation process over Karabakh conflict, but also jeopardize the fragile situation in the region, particularly in view of the unprecedented growth of Azerbaijan's military expenditure and the belligerent rhetoric of its government. President of Armenia decided not to attend the Chicago meeting due to these concerns,” the Minister stated.
Representatives of the North-Atlantic Alliance have repeatedly declared that settlement of Karabakh conflict belongs to solely OSCE Minsk Group domain. In this case, adoption of such declarations contradicts the very essence of NATO. The only positive thing in this regard is that any statements passed at summits are not legally binding, but rather serve as mere recommendations. However, they have a large share in supporting the bond between Azerbaijan and Turkey.