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Unstable Afghanistan A Threat To All

Benjamin Franklin, one of the founding fathers of the United States of America, said at the signing of the Declaration of Independence, "We must all hang together, gentlemen ... else, we shall most assuredly hang separately."

He meant that they must band together to fight a common threat, because no individual could handle it alone, and each would suffer the consequences.

On March 10th, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said something similar to the North Atlantic Council, the governing body of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO. During a meeting to consult with NATO Allies with regard to the ongoing US strategic policy review towards Afghanistan and Pakistan, and to discuss the main challenges ahead in Afghanistan, Mr. Biden said that all countries must work together to resolve the security problems in Afghanistan and Pakistan because all are in danger:

"The deteriorating situation in the region poses a security threat, from our perspective, not just to the United States, but to every single nation around this table. It was from that remote area of the world that al Qaeda plotted 9/11. It was from that very same area that extremists planned virtually every major terrorist attack in Europe since 9/11, including the attacks on London and Madrid."

The Taliban have increased their attacks on Afghan government troops as well as western military forces, and a widening area of Afghanistan is increasingly insecure. The mountainous border between Afghanistan and Pakistan are beyond the control of either government, and offer sanctuary to both Taliban and al-Qaida militants.

"We need to look at Afghanistan and Pakistan together, because success in one requires progress in the other," said Vice President Biden, and went on to stress the necessity of a comprehensive approach with strong civilian and diplomatic components. NATO members play a critical role, said Mr. Biden.

"Together, I am absolutely confident we can handle not only Afghanistan, but many other crises we'll face in the 21st century," said Vice President Biden in closing. "I'm also equally as confident that absent that kind of cohesion, it will be incredibly more difficult for us to meet the common threats we're going to face."