Source: New York Times
By JUDY DEMPSEY
February 11, 2009
BERLIN — NATO will remain within international law when it proceeds
with new measures to kill drug traffickers in Afghanistan and bomb
drug processing laboratories to deprive the Taliban of its main
financing, the alliance’s secretary general said Wednesday.
The official, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, said that “a number of buffers
and filters” had been put in place to safeguard the legality of
combating what he termed the nexus between the insurgency and
“It is according to international law,” he said. “And if nations at a
certain stage think that they would rather not participate, they will
not be forced to participate.”
Two weeks ago, the alliance was embroiled in controversy after Gen.
John Craddock, the NATO commander who is also chief of American forces
in Europe, said troops in Afghanistan would fire on individuals
responsible for supplying heroin refining laboratories with opium
without need for evidence.
In a letter to Gen. Egon Ramms, a German who heads the NATO command
center responsible for Afghanistan, General Craddock said that “it was
no longer necessary to produce intelligence or other evidence that
each particular drug trafficker or narcotics facility in Afghanistan
meets the criteria of being a military objective.”
General Ramms questioned the legality of the proposal, warning that it
would violate international law and rules governing armed conflict.
General Ramms’s letter was leaked, provoking a debate within NATO
about the conditions and circumstances under which troops could attack
Mr. de Hoop Scheffer ordered an investigation into the leak. “Our
enemies and opponents in Afghanistan are reading this leak,” he said.
“They are not stupid.”