New EU action plan for Afghanistan and Pakistan
Delivered in Plenary - 16th December 2009
We cannot afford to let the NATO-ISAF military mission in Afghanistan fail. With sufficient political will, the right military equipment and more troop numbers on the ground from all the Member States, NATO can defeat the Taliban, and of course this must be coupled to a hearts-and-minds campaign as well. But next-door Pakistan is potentially a catastrophe in the making – a nuclear arms state plagued by Islamist radicalisation, corruption and feeble leadership, which, nevertheless, we have to help for strategic reasons.
But, for instance, elements of the Pakistani ISA have long been suspected of granting tacit support to the Afghan Taliban and are only now reluctantly realising the domestic dangers of such an approach. The threat posed by Pakistan, particularly by harbouring terrorists, to India over Kashmir, also poses a grave threat to the whole region.
If Pakistan is to continue to receive military aid from EU countries for counter-insurgency operations against terrorist jihadis, and also EU economic assistance, it must give cast-iron guarantees that such aid will not be diverted to strengthening its conventional forces on the Indian border.
Finally, the instability of Pakistan and Afghanistan contrasts greatly with the stability and moderation of our democratic ally and partner, India, which deserves the EU’s full backing.