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EU foreign ministers discuss Afghanistan

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EU foreign ministers discuss Afghanistan


The civilian deaths in the Kunduz fuel tanker strike and growing public doubts about the war in Afghanistan have dominated a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Sweden. Luxembourg said the civilian deaths were an unacceptable catastrophe, while Britain admitted such attacks endangered the future of the NATO-led mission. Some are beginning to question the current strategy.

“I think it is the right moment after the first round of the elections – we will see if there is a second – to see whether the strategy on the civilian side is the right one,” said the EU’s External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner. French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner went even further: “We are not talking to each other. We are part of the alliance but we did not define a precise project and a European strategy. (We must) talk more about the basics. What (are we there) for? And for how long?” Kouchner was blunt when asked what the EU could do to improve the situation. He said: “Work with the Afghan people, not bomb them.” The return of the Taliban and the deteriorating security situation have prompted an urgent military review of NATO’s mission in Afghanistan. Some say that should include a proper discussion of how and when to leave.

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