Afghanistan Mission: NATO Irritated by New American ISAF Commander

The German government and NATO's North Atlantic Council have criticized US General Dan McNeill, the new NATO commander in Afghanistan. McNeill has been operating too independently and has been too brash in his choice of words, critics say.

US General Dan McNeil, the new head of ISAF.
AP

US General Dan McNeil, the new head of ISAF.

The German government and the North Atlantic Council in Brussels are unhappy with US General Dan McNeill, who took over as commander of the 36,000-strong NATO-led force in Afghanistan in early February.

McNeill launched last week's "Operation Achilles" offensive against Taliban insurgents in southern Afghanistan without informing NATO headquarters in Brussels and the allied NATO powers.

NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer and several ambassadors complained that McNeill had surged ahead on his own authority. They criticized him for declaring that the operation, which was originally planned just to protect a water dam, was a "spring offensive."

Government officials in Berlin were particularly irritated by reports that the US general is skeptical about coordinated civilian and military reconstruction efforts, an approach that Germany and many other partners support.

NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Europe, US General John Craddock, has expressed regret about McNeill's behavior, say sources in Brussels.

SPIEGEL staff

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