America’s new strategy in Afghanistan has been greeted with a chorus of european support, from Britain’s preparedness to ramp up troop numbers; to France, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania and Spain talking about sending officers to train Afghan police.
President Obama announced his new Afghan plan as violence there reached an eight year high. He said: “The world cannot afford the price that will come due if Afghanistan slides back into chaos or al-Qaeda operates unchecked. As America does more, we will ask others to join us in doing their part. From our partners and NATO allies, we seek not simply troops, but rather clearly defined capabilities: supporting the Afghan elections, training Afghan security forces.” Obama was careful to stress the role of Afghanistan’s neighbour in any strategy – Pakistan. “Al-Qaeda and its extremist allies are a cancer that risk killing Pakistan from within. It is important for the American people to understand that Pakistan needs our help in going after al-Qaeda,” he said. Pakistan’s government has already allowed the implementation of Sharia law in the Swat Valley in the North West of the country as part of a peace deal with Taliban supporters. It is the inaccessible tribal areas straddling the two countries’ amorphous border where extremists are plotting attacks on the US, according to White House officials.