The Corner

NATO Steps Up

From New York Times:

NATO defense ministers gave their broad endorsement Friday to the counterinsurgency strategy for Afghanistan laid out by Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, increasing pressure on the Obama administration and on their own governments to commit more military and civilian resources for the mission to succeed.

General McChrystal, the senior American and allied commander in Afghanistan, landed here early Friday to brief NATO defense ministers on his strategic review of an 8-year-old war in which the American-led effort has lost momentum to a tenacious insurgency. The closed-door session — which had not been disclosed in advance — added a note of drama to the sort of NATO ministerial meeting that is often mundane.

“What we did today was to discuss General McChrystal’s overall assessment, his overall approach, and I have noted a broad support from all ministers of this overall counterinsurgency approach,” said NATO’s secretary general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

Although the broad acceptance by NATO defense ministers of General McChrystal’s strategic review included no decision on new troops, it was another in a series of acknowledgements that success there cannot be achieved by a narrower effort that calls only for capturing and killing Al Qaeda-linked terrorists. That counter-terrorism strategy is identified with Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

In contrast, General McChrystal’s review calls for implementing a full-scale counterinsurgency strategy that focuses on protecting population centers and accelerating the training of Afghan army and police units both requiring significant numbers of fresh troops. NATO diplomats noted that it is difficult to see how an acceptance of this broad strategy can be viewed as anything but an endorsement of the need to increase both military and civilian contributions.