Czech Ambassador Jaromir Novotny
Views on Afghanistan
Ambassador Jaromír Novotný
This is our third workshop panel about Afghanistan, which shows how important this subject is. And this is my 15th workshop—I started in 1995 in Dresden when the Czech Republic was in the process of negotiating with NATO to become a member. This year, the workshop has been extremely interesting for me because there was a panel on Israel and Palestine, an area of the world that has been a source of trouble for the last 60 years. Now we have Afghanistan, which has been a source of trouble starting in 1979, when a Communist coup d’état changed the regime and the Soviet Union intervened in there. From that time on, Afghanistan has not witnessed any peace.
NATO AND EU PROBLEMS IN AFGHANISTAN
Afghanistan is important for NATO and for the EU because we find ourselves in 2010 with more than 100,000 soldiers on Afghan territory. This is the same number that the Soviet Union had at the peak of the invasion, and the Soviet Union lost. This is also a problematic time for relations between the Allies. Of the 100,000 soldiers who are from 46 countries and 28 member-states, 26 of the 28 member-states are European, and Europeans are delivering 30,000 soldiers, with one-third of them provided by the U.K. So you can see how willing the United States’ and Canada’s European partners are to be involved in this war.
I have tried to be a little provocative, and now I will give the floor to the panel representatives.