Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Jamie Shea on Engagement With Pakistan

Jamie Shea, Director of Policy Planning in the NATO Secretary General's office, has always been one of the most thoughtful of NATO staff. Radio Free Europe is carrying a very interesting interview with him on what NATO will do to try to engage further with Pakistan.

Since everyone agrees that cannot succeed in Afghanistan without working more closely with Pakistan (even while there is little agreement what 'success' will look like), and Shea is a key man in building that closer engagement, this interview is well worth the read.

Amongst the key points, Shea says that ".. specific examples of cooperation on the ground.." could include:

..improving the lines of communication. Eighty percent of our supplies for ISAF [NATO-led International Security Assistance Force] go through Pakistan. Setting up a NATO liaison office in Islamabad. Stepping up the cooperation on the [Afghan-Pakistan] border. We are in the process of setting up six border cooperation centers. Sharing intelligence. These kinds of things. We've got to bring Pakistan as closely as we can into a regional approach in order to be successful in Afghanistan.

He also mentions improved logistics as essential. Jamie Shea has never been afraid to speak honestly, and when he talks about Taliban successes, like blowing up thirty trucks in a supply convoy, looking spectacular, he sounds much more in touch with reality than typical NATO spokespeople. He is also right to say that more cooperation is necessary to safeguard southern supply routes.

Read the interview.

No comments: