US neglected to inform NATO about Afghan Helmand operations / News / The Foreigner

US neglected to inform NATO about Afghan Helmand operations. Top NATO personnel were not told about the two of the organisation’s biggest operations in Afghanistan, a ‘Wikleaked’ US cable shows. The U.S. Marines’ “Operation Khanjari” was the biggest airborne assault since Vietnam. 4,000 marines and 650 Afghan soldiers, backed by NATO aircraft, entered the Helmand valley in Afghanistan at the beginning of July 2009. The operation led to the bloodiest months since the war in Afghanistan began, according to Aftenposten. American military silence towards NATO’s Secretary General and the NATO Advisory Council (NAC) prior to the operation prompted strong reactions from the Allies, and caught both Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre by surprise.

nato, wikileaks, jensstoltenberg, jonasgahrstoere, helmandprovince, afghanistan



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US neglected to inform NATO about Afghan Helmand operations

Published on Sunday, 20th February, 2011 at 23:04 under the news category, by Nicoleta Dumitrache Sincan.

Top NATO personnel were not told about the two of the organisation’s biggest operations in Afghanistan, a ‘Wikleaked’ US cable shows.

Mountains and rivers in Helmand Province
Mountains and rivers in Helmand Province
Photo: U.S. Military staff/Wikimedia Commons


Regrets

The U.S. Marines’ “Operation Khanjari” was the biggest airborne assault since Vietnam. 4,000 marines and 650 Afghan soldiers, backed by NATO aircraft, entered the Helmand valley in Afghanistan at the beginning of July 2009. The operation led to the bloodiest months since the war in Afghanistan began, according to Aftenposten.

American military silence towards NATO’s Secretary General and the NATO Advisory Council (NAC) prior to the operation prompted strong reactions from the Allies, and caught both Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre by surprise.

“Deputy Secretary General Bisogniero noted that the NAC had not been informed in advance of the start of Operation Khanjari. He drew PermReps attention to a letter received after the start of the operation in which the SHAPE Chief of Staff expressed regret that the normal practice of notifying the Secretary General was not followed. Allies expressed frustration over this incident, with Norway commenting that it had learned about the operation from the news. Canada stressed the importance of keeping the NAC informed about major operations,” the document reads.

‘More’ regrets

Operation “Khanjari” was not the only example of the US not briefing NATO as to its actions.

In another leaked document, then Secretary General (SYG) Jaap de Hoop Scheffer alleged he was not informed about March 2007’s “Operation Achilles” in the Helmand Province. 4,500 ISAF forces from the UK, Denmark, Estonia, The Netherlands, the US, and Canada took part, and the SYG claimed he knew nothing before it was revealed to the media.

“SYG de Hoop Scheffer kicked off discussion on Afghanistan by expressing concern that NMAs had not adequately briefed him or the Council prior to the high-profile March 6 press conference announcing the launch of ISAF,s Operation Achilles in Helmand province. Specifically, the SYG felt he had not been adequately informed as to when the operation would begin,” according to the cable.

Mr de Hoop Scheffer went on to say he believed there was an inadequate balance of communication between the NAC and NATO Military Authorities (NMA), vowing to take this up with the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR).

The Americans’ reaction was that US Ambassador Victoria Nuland “regretted that NMAs had not worked with the NAC to enable Ambassadors to serve as force multipliers with capitals and press.”

Obvious dominance

Ståle Ulriksen, Head of Department at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI), is not surprised at what has been revealed.

“This illustrates something that has been a major problem throughout the war in Afghanistan.NATO is a spanner in the works for the United States. We have seen that the Americans go in and mount attacks without any form of warning or coordination on several occasions. Everyone knows that America is totally dominant. This is also understandable from the U.S.’ point of view, since operations mainly consist of an American contribution,” he tells Aftenposten.

Director of the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO), Kristian Berg Harpikven, believes Norwegians should actively ask for more answers.

“The argument that we have greater influence by participating in Afghanistan has always been used in Norway. That gives reason to pose critical questions about why key operational decisions have been taken without informing politicians, the NATO Council and the Secretary General at all.”

NATO’s political leadership has since received apologies for not being briefed about both incidents from the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), the Headquarters of Allied Command Operations in Brussels.



Published on Sunday, 20th February, 2011 at 23:04 under the news category, by Nicoleta Dumitrache Sincan.

This post has the following tags: nato, wikileaks, jensstoltenberg, jonasgahrstoere, helmandprovince, afghanistan.





  
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