13th Aug 2022

Biden asks Europeans for help in Afghanistan

  • US vice-president Joseph Biden stressed the 'crucial' role of the EU and Nato in Afghanistan (Photo: Nato)

US vice-president Joseph Biden on Tuesday (10 March) renewed pleas for more European involvement in Afghanistan, with EU counterparts relieved he was not insisting so much on troops, but civilian assistance.

"I know the people of Europe, like the people of my country, are tired of war, and they are tired of this war [in Afghanistan]," he said at a press conference following his meeting with Nato ambassadors.

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

"But we know that it was from the space that joins Afghanistan and Pakistan that the attacks of 9/11 occurred. We know that it was from the very same area that extremists planned virtually every major terrorist attack on Europe since 9/11, and the attack on Mumbai," Mr Biden continued

The 55,100-strong Nato mission in Afghanistan faces a major shift of policy with President Barack Obama expected to mount a review and produce new proposals ready for the alliance's summit on 2-4 April.

Mr Biden's meeting with European and Canadian ambassadors to Nato was mostly designed to mark the start of a consultation process for the review.

"I heard from our allies. I heard the concerns and they listed their priorities. And I pledged to them, as I pledge to all Europeans now, that we will build their ideas into our review, which we expect to present to President Obama before the end of this month, in preparation of the Nato summit in April," Mr Biden said.

The US is adding 17,000 troops to Afghanistan as it withdraws soldiers from Iraq. But with most European allies already having stretched their military commitment to Afghanistan to the maximum, ambassadors were relieved to hear that Mr Biden was counting on the "civilian surge", with the increase in troops to come mostly from the US side, diplomatic sources told EUobserver.

The EU is to increase its police training mission from 180 to 400, with member states also expected to send more police trainers, judges and other judicial experts to improve the rule of law in Afghanistan.

Talking to the Taliban

Asked to clarify President Obama's statement that Nato was "not winning" the war in Afghanistan, Mr Biden said: "We are not winning the war, but the war is not lost." He also explained that the US might engage in talks with the moderate elements within the Taliban, who are "not sure of their commitment" or only do it for the money. He suggested that only five percent of the Taliban were really committed to insurgency.

Mr Biden also met EU top diplomat Javier Solana and the representatives of the current Czech EU presidency and the upcoming Swedish one. A non-Nato member, Sweden nevertheless also actively contributes to the military mission in Afghanistan, and is planning to increase its troop strength in the country from 375 to 500 by the end of this year.

"Mr Biden gave us food for thought, but also food for action. It is an important year, with elections coming up in Afghanistan, with deliverables needed to be presented at the Nato summit – a trust fund to secure the financial sustainability of the Afghan army, training, electoral monitoring," Nato secretary-general Jaap de Hoop Scheffer concluded at the press conference.


If Biden wins tonight, this is what EU can expect

If Joe Biden is elected tonight, there will be a sigh of relief in most European capitals. However, that should not blind us to the fact that the Biden presidency will not be a walk in the park for Europeans.

Sweden to extradite man wanted by Turkey

The Swedish government has agreed to extradite a Turkish citizen with Kurdish roots wanted for credit card fraud to Turkey, amid the backdrop of Turkey's Nato threat.

Estonia and Latvia sever China club ties

Beijing's club was meant to forge stronger European relations. Lithuania left it last year. Now Estonia and Latvia have also decided to walk over Chinese bullying.

EU hopeful of Iran nuclear deal

A possible deal to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear pact is within reach, says the European Union. Washington backs the final proposals, but Tehran remains cautious.


Only Western unity can stop Iran hostage-diplomacy

The Belgian parliament's recent decision to ratify its prisoner-exchange treaty with Iran is a grave mistake, and one which exemplifies the many downfalls of dealing with Iran's human-rights abuses on a case-by-case basis.

News in Brief

  1. Germany to help nationals cope with energy price spike
  2. Germany wants pipeline from Portugal
  3. Ukraine urges US to sanction all Russian banks
  4. Spain evacuates 294 Afghans
  5. EU sanctions have 'limited' effect of Russian oil production
  6. Donors pledge €1.5bn to Ukraine's war effort
  7. Sweden overtakes France as EU's top power exporter
  8. Italy's far-right star in European charm offensive

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  3. European Centre for Press and Media FreedomEuropean Anti-SLAPP Conference 2022
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  6. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting

Latest News

  1. Defying Russian bombs, Ukraine football starts 2022 season
  2. Sweden to extradite man wanted by Turkey
  3. EU must beware Beijing's new charm offensive
  4. Forest fire near Bordeaux forces over 10,000 to flee
  5. Estonia and Latvia sever China club ties
  6. Russian coal embargo kicks in, as EU energy bills surge
  7. Only Western unity can stop Iran hostage-diplomacy
  8. Kosovo PM warns of renewed conflict with Serbia

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us