US expects 2006 violence level in Afghanistan to be double of previous year.
he said: “While we have to be frank about the risks, we also have to avoid over-dramatising the difficulties.”
|Taliban fighters have intensified their
campaign against Nato forces
He was speaking a day after a suicide bomber killed two Canadian soldiers in the latest attack on a Nato convoy in southern Afghanistan.
NATO commanders are also frustrated by around 50 caveats, which range from geographical restrictions – the biggest problem – to the refusal to fight at night or in winter conditions.
The British prime minister, Tony Blair, has also urged Nato to do more in Afghanistan.
He told a news conference held with Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the Danish prime minister: “NATO’s credibility is at stake here. If we don’t succeed in Afghanistan the whole of the world will be less secure.”
Jacques Chirac, the French president, has called for a “contact group” to be formed of countries neighbouring Afghanistan and those involved in the Nato mission.
Chirac, writing in Britain’s Guardian newspaper, said such a group was “necessary to give our forces the means to succeed in their mission in support of the Afghan authorities, and refocus the alliance on military operations”.
Chirac wrote: “The Europeans have relied on their American allies for too long … They have to shoulder their share of the burden by making a national defence effort commensurate with their ambitions for Nato and also for the EU.”
Scheffer voiced support for Chirac’s plan, saying: “We a need a body like the … contact group in Kosovo that brings the key international actors together on a regular basis and coordinates overall strategy.”
In early September, US General James Jones, Nato’s military commander, called for 2,500 extra military personnel for southern Afghanistan – about 1,000 combat troops supported by 1,500 logistical and other staff – but they have not yet been provided.