By U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Chlosta
ISAF Public Affairs
KABUL, Afghanistan (November 14, 2010) – The International Security Assistance Force spokesman and the NATO Senior Civilian Representative’s spokesperson gave an update on coalition operations in Afghanistan during a news conference Nov. 14 at the ISAF headquarters here.
German Army Brig. Gen. Josef Blotz showed clips from an insurgent propaganda video that inflated false claims about ongoing operations and coalition and Afghan causalities. According to Blotz, the sophisticated videos are produced to seduce young men to become suicide bombers and to raise money. “First, they need young people who are willing to die—to be treated as disposable war materiel,” Blotz said, “And second, the Taliban need money to continue their campaign of violence against the Afghan people.
The videos, purchased at a public bazaar in Khost, contain video clips of suicide bombers and improvised explosive devices detonating against coalition forces.
“The Taliban claim they protect the Afghan culture from foreign influence, but in this video they appeal for money and try to recruit foreign fighters,” Blotz said. “These videos promote a culture of death that has no national following or basis in religious doctrine. These videos distort the truth and makes arguments that attempt to legitimize a culture of death for Muslim youth.”
ISAF was able to match the two suicide attacks depicted in the video with operational reporting from last February, Blotz said.
In one incident, Mohammad Musa, a resident of Sar Roza District in Paktika Province, and a student in a religious school, drove a white Toyota Corolla packed with 200 pounds of homemade explosives into a coalition supply convoy in Khost. An MRAP vehicle that was the target of the bombing was slightly damaged. One soldier was slightly injured and returned to duty the same day.
“This young Afghan man’s suicide did not impact ISAF operations,” Blotz said.
In another segment, Ustad Mohammad Yaser, a Taliban spokesman, made a plea for funds.
“’Now we have one suicide bomber for each one of NATO and American tanks and trucks, but we do not have enough suicide vests and funds to support such operations,’” Yaser said in the video.
“This is the future the Taliban have in mind for the youth of Afghanistan,” Blotz said. “In contrast, the Afghan Minister of Culture and Minister of Youth Affairs recently conducted Afghanistan’s first National Youth High Council General Assembly. The Youth High Council is a platform for youth to voice their concerns, exchange ideas and support peace building and governance development up to the village level.”
Blotz also pointed out that lower-level insurgents have been invited by the President of Afghanistan to renounce violence, stop support to terrorists and accept the Afghan constitution as the conditions for rejoining Afghan society with honor.
In Khost, the same location where the Taliban distributed the video, the Afghan government partnered with the international community to build a hospital facility, and up to twenty schools, roads and agricultural business.
“These are the types of initiatives Afghan young people said they want—education, jobs, and a voice in their government,” Blotz said. “Clearly the Afghan government has a positive vision for the future of Afghanistan—what we have just seen in these videos by the Taliban is not the future that the Afghan people want.”
The NATO SCR spokesperson Dominic Medley gave an update on the NATO Lisbon Conference scheduled for Nov. 19-20 in Portugal.
“On Friday and Saturday this week, the NATO Heads of State and Government Summit takes place in Lisbon in Portugal,” Medley said.
“The 28 NATO nations will expand into the 48 ISAF nations and will be joined by President Karzai and the Government of Afghanistan delegation, along with the UN Secretary General, the World Bank, Japan and others,” Medley said.
The meeting will look at two main issues. The first will be to launch the transition process – by which the Afghan National Security Forces will take lead security responsibility throughout Afghanistan starting in the first half of next year 2011.
“This is President Karzai’s aim, which NATO endorses, of taking security responsibility with NATO ISAF in support by the end of 2014,” Medley said.
Secondly, the meeting will launch a long-term partnership between NATO and Afghanistan, an enduring partnership, Medley said. NATO will continue practical support in terms of training, development, capacity building and political dialogue.
“The Alliance’s commitment is for the long term, and the military commitment is for the long term as the combat mission moves towards a support role,” Medley said. “Beyond that, NATO will have an enduring political commitment to Afghanistan. This is an important signal for the Afghan people. There will be no vacuum as a result of the transition process. On the contrary NATO will stay as long as it takes to finish the job.”