This is from the Guardian.
Some NATO members such as the U.S. Canada, and Britain are becoming annoyed at other NATO members who they feel are not "pulling their weight". However, the Afghan mission is nowhere popular in Europe in the countries providing the troops. Even in Canada a majority oppose the mission. Most politicians do not court political suicide.
Afghan death toll soars to 8,000 last yearMatthew Weaver and agencies guardian.co.uk, Tuesday March 11 2008
The United Nations has delivered a grim assessment of the conflict in Afghanistan, reporting that violence increased sharply last year and resulted in the deaths of more than 8,000 people, at least 1,500 of them civilians.
In a report to the security council, the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, said the number of violent incidents rose from an average of 425 a month in 2006 to 566 each month last year.
The number of suicide attacks rose to 160 in 2007 from 123 in 2006 — with 68 attempts thwarted in 2007 compared with 17 in 2006, he said.
Ban claimed that while the insurgency drew strength from local people, much of the violence was led from abroad. "The support of foreign-based networks in providing leadership, planning, training, funding and equipment clearly remains crucial to its viability," he said.
Current violence in Afghanistan is at its highest level since a US-led invasion in 2001 to oust Taliban rulers.
The focus of the conflict has been in Afghanistan's southern and eastern provinces, but the insurgents are increasingly using Iraq-style tactics - such as roadside bombs, suicide attacks and kidnappings - against foreign and Afghan targets around the country.
"Afghanistan remains roughly divided between the generally more stable west and north, where security problems are linked to factionalism and criminality, and the south and east, characterised by an increasingly coordinated insurgency," the secretary general said.
He cited a number of worrying trends, including the gradual emergence of insurgent activity in the previously calm north-west, and the encroachment of insurgents into the two provinces of Logar and Wardak, which border the capital, Kabul.
Ban said the tactics of anti-government elements changed noticeably in 2007 in response to the superiority of Afghan and international security forces in conventional battles.
The opposition groups were forced "to adopt small-scale, asymmetric tactics aimed largely at the Afghan national security forces and, in some cases, civilians: improvised explosive devices, suicide attacks, assassinations and abductions", Ban said.
Ban also expressed concern at the increase in attacks on Afghan and international humanitarian workers. In more than 130 attacks, 40 aid workers were killed and 89 abducted, of whom seven were later killed by their captors, he said.
A committee of MPs found yesterday that the costs of operations by British forces in Afghanistan rose by 122% to £1.6bn.