8th Feb 2023

Nato chief presses for more police trainers in Afghanistan

  • Mr Rasmussen says Afghanistan needs at least 500 more police trainers (Photo: EUobserver)

Nato secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Monday (1 February) said that roughly 500 more police trainers are needed in Afghanistan, echoing similar calls from the EU's own mission on the ground.

"Training is an investment in the transition of Afghanistan and I will press hard for this," Mr Rasmussen said during a press conference in Brussels detailing the agenda of an informal meeting of Nato defence ministers due to take place in Istanbul on 4-5 February.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

He said some 100 police and 21 army training units – each comprising four to five trainers – are still needed.

"I will make a demand from all Nato members and partners to eliminate the deficiencies of training mission in Afghanistan," he said.

At the same time, a demand by general Stanley McChrystal, in charge of the multinational force in Afghanistan (ISAF) for 40,000 extra troops was roughly met. "From that point of view, the process has been a huge success," Mr Rasmussen argued.

The US is currently deploying 30,000 extra soldiers, while other allied countries have committed themselves to send over 7,000 troops. By the end of the year, the international military presence will exceed 100,000.

Mr Rasmussen's calls for extra trainers echoed similar requests made last week by the chiefs of the EU's own police training mission in Afghanistan, Eupol. European countries committed themselves in 2007 to sending 400 trainers, but the mission is still short of about 100 staff.

Asked if his calls for more police trainers will not compete with those of Eupol, as 22 out of Nato's 28 member states are also EU countries, Mr Rasmussen said the two were "complementary." "We appreciate all the contributions," he added.

Meanwhile, the Czech Republic, both a Nato and EU member, on Monday announced it would send an extra 15 trainers of Afghan police and some 40 soldiers to protect a Polish-run military base in the violent south-east of the country. So far, Prague has deployed around 500 soldiers in Afghanistan.

Another contribution to the training mission – 60 staff to train both police and army - will come from Turkey. Despite being Nato's second largest military power after the US, Ankara has refused to send combat troops to Afghanistan, also a Muslim country. Its contribution to the ISAF mission is primarily in the field of reconstruction and peace-keeping.

An international conference on the way forward in Afghanistan took place in London last week, with world leaders agreeing to start handing over security duties to Afghan forces in early 2011 and finish the process within five years.

The conference was called to help Nato allies chart a roadmap out of Afghanistan amid rising casualties and falling public support in what is now the alliance's flagship mission. The military intervention in Afghanistan started in 2002, in response to the attacks on New York and Washington on 11 September 2001.

It succeeded in ousting the Taliban from power, but not the insurgency, which has now spilled over to Pakistan and has seen growing attacks on Kabul and in areas which had been secure in the past.

EU police mission in Afghanistan still understaffed

On the eve of an international conference on Afghanistan, the commanders of the EU's police mission in the country have asked MEPs to press their governments to send more police trainers, who may be deployed outside Kabul.

World leaders agree on Afghan timetable and funding

World leaders meeting in London on Thursday agreed to start handing over security duties to Afghan forces early 2011 and finish that process within five years, while also pledging funds to persuade Talibans in renouncing violence.

'Heroin drought' in Europe due to fall in Afghan production

Europe's streets have been hit by a “heroin drought” according to the EU drugs agency. The decline is the result of a drop in the Afghan opium production to 3,600 tonnes in 2010 - half the level reached in 2009.

Polish backpedal on windfarms put EU funds at risk

Draft legislation in Poland aimed at relaxing some of Europe's strictest laws surrounding onshore wind-turbines has been derailed by a surprise last minute amendment, which could put Poland back on a collision course with the EU.


Why the new ECHR Ukraine-Russia ruling matters

The ECHR ruled that Russia was in "effective control" of separatist regions of Eastern Ukraine from 11 May 2014. In doing so, the court has formally acknowledged the inter-state character of the conflict and Russia's culpability for human rights abuses.

Latest News

  1. Polish MEP also went on freelance Azerbaijan trip
  2. Why Europe's interminable compromises are a virtue
  3. Wales' message to Europe: 'We'll be back'
  4. MEPs to vote on risky 'hydrogen for home heating' rule
  5. The man who won't stop filing info requests until every EU doc is public
  6. EU hands Libya coast guard boats ahead of migration summit
  7. Eleven suicides daily — Spain's not-so-silent pandemic
  8. The return of Lula means now is the time for EU-Mercosur deal

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFBWWEU Social Dialogue review – publication of the European Commission package and joint statement of ETUFs
  2. Oxfam InternationalPan Africa Program Progress Report 2022 - Post Covid and Beyond
  3. WWFWWF Living Planet Report
  4. EFBWWEFBWW Executive Committee report on major abuses, labour crime and subcontracting
  5. European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual & Reproductive Rights (EPF)Launch of the EPF Contraception Policy Atlas Europe 2023. 8th February. Register now.
  6. Europan Patent OfficeHydrogen patents for a clean energy future: A global trend analysis of innovation along hydrogen value chains

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Forum EuropeConnecting the World from the Skies calls for global cooperation in NTN rollout
  2. European Committee of the RegionsRe-Watch EURegions Week 2022
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP27: Food systems transformation for climate action
  4. Friedrich Naumann Foundation European DialogueGender x Geopolitics: Shaping an Inclusive Foreign Security Policy for Europe
  5. Obama FoundationThe Obama Foundation Opens Applications for its Leaders Program in Europe
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersLarge Nordic youth delegation at COP15 biodiversity summit in Montreal

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us