Doyle: Turkey’s Afghanistan policy was insightful

Doyle: Turkey’s Afghanistan policy was insightful

Peter Doyle

March 23, 2010, Tuesday/ 16:19:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN
Australia has about 1,550 soldiers serving in Afghanistan, with most based in Uruzgan, as part of Operation Slipper, the Australian military’s contribution to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), while Turkey took over the rotating command of the Kabul Regional Command for ISAF in November and doubled its number of troops to around 1,750.

“We share the same objectives: a stable, unified Afghanistan that is able to maintain control over its territory. Turkey and Australia are both contributing to that in a major way,” Australian Ambassador to Turkey Peter Doyle said in an interview with Today’s Zaman, calling Afghanistan another area in which Australia and Turkey are united in their objectives.

When asked whether the two countries also shared the “recipe” for achieving those common objectives, Doyle responded: “Turkey was a little bit ahead of most of ISAF members and there has recently been a change in the general approach which took note of the fact that civil and military strategies work better together. And this is something Australia fully endorses. Although it is not new, recently the emphasis has been stronger on the need for having the Afghan government and forces more in control. Again, that’s something that Turkey had strongly argued before many other countries eventually noticed.”

He added: “Turkey had a very important role in sharing how it could deliver within Afghanistan. Australia is fully on board with this strategy.”

Over the last few years, Turkey -- a country which has had relations with Afghanistan since the 10th century -- has tirelessly warned the international community that using military means to bring stability to the war-torn country will not work unless these efforts are supported by strong civilian assistance to the country to enable it to stand on its own two feet. Ankara’s efforts have eventually yielded fruit, as the significance of the civilian aspect of the struggle in Afghanistan was boldly highlighted in a communiqué released after January’s international conference on Afghanistan, held in London.

“Afghanistan faces formidable development challenges, which require sustained, long-term support from the international community. A better coordinated and resourced civilian effort is critical to overcoming these challenges. Economic growth, respect for Rule of Law and human rights alongside creation of employment opportunities, and good governance for all Afghans are also critical to counter the appeal of the insurgency, as well as being vital to greater stability in Afghanistan,” says 16th article of the communiqué under the subtitle “Development and governance.”

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