After the collapse of the Dutch government over the question of its role in Afghanistan, observers said it could be a preview of things to come with the NATO coalition.
Today, Sean Carney of the Wall Street Journal reports that NATO General Secretary Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who was in Prague, received “mixed reactions to his request that the Czechs boost their contingent in Afghanistan.”
Carney writes: “Mirek Topolanek, the leading right-leaning politician and head of the Civic Democrat party, or ODS, fully agreed with Rasmussen’s point of view that all members of the military alliance should show solidarity and support the ramping up of US troops in Afghanistan. He supports the increase.
Yet Topolanek’s rival, Jiri Paroubek who heads the left-leaning Social Democrat party, or CSSD, offered a cold reception to Rasmussen’s request, saying he disagreed."
The recent spate of arrests of militants in Pakistan has made people wonder whether that country has changed its stance toward the Taliban. What does Richard Holbrooke, the U.S. special representative to the region, think?
In an interview with the Financial Times, Holbrooke said he was “agnostic” about Pakistan’s intentions.
“Everyone has asked the same question. How do you know? Have we turned a corner? I’m not prepared to make those judgments, and you’ll have to ask the Pakistanis that,” Holbrooke told the Financial Times.
“I’m an agnostic at this point … as to whether this was a policy change [by Islamabad] or a serendipitous collection of discreet events.”
Some other news reports and perspectives:
- Ken Dilanian (USA Today): "Pakistan steps up anti-Taliban efforts"
- Gordon Lubold (Christian Science Monitor): “As Marjah offensive ends, a crucial test for peace in Afghanistan”
- Saeed Shah (McClatchy/Miami Herald): "Pakistani army ousts insurgents from tribal area"
- Iain Martin (Wall Street Journal): “Encouraging signs in Afghanistan”
- Greg Jaffe (Washington Post): “Joint Chiefs Chairman Mullen outlines a more restrained art of war”