NATO Boss Jens Stoltenberg Points Finger at Afghan Leaders
Like US President Joe Biden, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg places the blame primarily on Afghan leaders for the rapid takeover by the Taliban in Afghanistan. “Their failure led to the tragedy we are witnessing today,” Stoltenberg says.
He blames the failure of this on “the failure of the Afghan leaders”. “They have failed to resist the Taliban and reach a peaceful solution.”
Like US President Joe Biden, Stoltenberg argued that NATO never intended to stay in Afghanistan forever. Stoltenberg called it “a surprise” that Afghan forces, trained by NATO troops, have fallen so quickly. “NATO has lessons to learn from this,” he said. Stoltenberg calls on the Taliban to allow the departure of anyone who wants to. NATO sends new planes to help evacuate Western and Afghan NATO personnel.
Much sharper criticism is heard from non-Western quarters. China has reacted strongly to US President Joe Biden’s speech defending his decision to leave Afghanistan. Biden defended himself by saying that the US mission was to prevent attacks on American soil, not “to build a democratic nation in Afghanistan.”
“That’s absolutely true,” said Hua Chunying, spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “The power and function of the US are to destroy, not build. In Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, we have seen a US military leaving trouble, division and torn families behind.”
“The US campaign was doomed to failure from the start,” said former Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev. Gorbachev himself had to withdraw from the Russian army in 1989 after a ten-year campaign in Afghanistan.
“NATO and the US should have admitted their failure sooner,” said Gorbachev, 90. “The important thing now is to learn lessons from what happened and see that such mistakes are not repeated.”
Gorbachev describes the failed campaign as “an exaggeration of threat and weakly worded geopolitical ideas, plus unrealistic attempts to democratize a society composed of ethnicities.”
The current Russian government sees a “positive signal” coming from Afghanistan for the time being. “I believe that the Taliban’s willingness to respect the opinions of others, both in word and deed, is a positive signal,” said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
The same sound comes from Turkey. “We take a positive view of the messages sent so far by the Taliban, both to foreigners and diplomatic representatives and to its own population,” the Turkish government said. “We hope that they will be reflected in their actions, and we will continue our dialogue with all parties in Afghanistan, including the Taliban.”
Incidentally, the first congratulations were also addressed to the Taliban earlier. They belonged to the mufti of the Sultanate of Oman, Ahmad bin Hamad al-Khalili, the highest religious authority in the country. He congratulated the Afghan people “on their victory over the invaders”.
Hamas, the radical Islamist Palestinian organization in the Gaza Strip, also “congratulates the Taliban and their courageous leaders on the victory after their long struggle of the past 20 years.”