From the event

24-25 Jul. 2008

NATO Secretary General visits Afghanistan

NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, accompanied by the Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Bantz J. Craddock, paid a three-day visit to Afghanistan on 23-25 July.

On Thursday 24 July, the Secretary General met President Karzai and several Afghan ministers and discussed the presidential and provincial council elections to be held in 2009, as well as the regional security situation and the relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

He also met the Speaker of the Afghan Parliament, Mr. Yunus Qanooni, and members of the Parliament, who raised in particular questions related to the different electoral processes.

The Secretary General also addressed the security situation on the ground with General David McKiernan, the Commander of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

Mr. de Hoop Scheffer, who was accompanied by his wife, spoke to representatives of the Afghan Civil Society Forum (ACSF) and to members of the Afghan Women’s Resource Centre (AWRC), whose goal is to help the most vulnerable Afghan women by providing them with specific skills.

NATO sees progress in Uruzgan

On Friday, the Secretary General and Mrs. de Hoop Scheffer traveled to Tarin-Kowt, in Uruzgan Province, southern Afghanistan. They visited the Dutch and Australian personnel of the ISAF Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT), who provide security, reconstruction and development in the area.

The Secretary General also met with the Deputy Governor and local leaders to discuss their needs and concerns. “I have seen clearly here today that the cynics have it wrong” he said. “There is progress here. A better life is being built here, by the Afghan people, with the help of the international community.”

Provincial Reconstruction Teams are small teams of civilian and military personnel working in Afghanistan’s provinces to provide security for aid workers and help reconstruction work.