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American Forces Press Service

Giambastiani: More Help Needed in Afghanistan

By Tech. Sgt. Adam M. Stump, USAF
Special to American Forces Press Service

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia, March 30, 2007 – While NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan is a success, more help is needed from the international community, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said during a speech here yesterday.

Navy Adm. Edmund P. Giambastiani spoke to about 60 members of the Slovak Foreign Policy Association, Euro-Atlantic Center, and Center for European and North Atlantic Affairs about NATO efforts in Afghanistan.

Giambastiani said NATO has a Combined Joint Statement of Requirements, or CJSOR, to fill military missions.

“The inability of NATO to fill all of these CJSOR requirements is disconcerting,” Giambastiani said. “To a former NATO officer, it’s hard. Given the size of the combined militaries of NATO and the universal political commitment that has been shown, several key capabilities are needed.”

One top priority in his view: helicopters.

“In a country that’s as vast as Afghanistan with mountainous regions and valleys, you need helicopters to move around. Thousands of helicopters exist within NATO. We are still having trouble finding 20 helicopters to replace the U.S. bridging force that we put in Afghanistan.”

He said this also highlights the importance of a strategic lift capability within NATO to get troops and helicopters into a theater of operations.

Giambastiani also said Afghanistan needs more help from other nations.

“The dollars and the euros actually spent there are much less than the promises or commitment made in many cases. They have not met the Afghan people’s expectations based on what they’ve been told. There’s a good effort to date. For example, 1 million in euros in reconstruction aid has been promised. Not all of it has been obligated.”

Another area Afghanistan needs assistance with is police forces.

“More police mentors are needed in Afghanistan,” the admiral said. The European Union is sending 160 mentors. Seventy will go to the Afghan capital of Kabul, while the other 90 will go to other parts of the country, he said, noting that as a positive sign.

Overall, the admiral said, the mission in Afghanistan is critical to the NATO alliance.

“In my view, so goes Afghanistan, so goes NATO. This is a big challenge, both for our defense establishments and our cultures.”

The admiral said intelligence sharing among Afghanistan, its neighbors and other NATO countries is critical, and overcoming challenges faced in Afghanistan is imperative for the alliance.

“Conducting high-intensity operations, counterinsurgency operations and civil-military cooperation operations will either serve to transform NATO and its military capabilities, or drive it to division and failure,” he said. I am optimistic about NATO. I am optimistic about this alliance and its ability to transform.”

(Air Force Tech. Sgt. Adam M. Stump is assigned to the Joint Staff public affairs office.)

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