We have met with Lieutenant General Olivier de Bavinchove, Commanding General of Eurocorps

Eurocorps are intergovernmental army forces of some European states. Participating states are Belgium, Germany, France, Luxembourg, Spain, Greece, Poland, Italy and Turkey. Head quarters are in Strasbourg. We attended the speech of Lieutenant General Olivier de Bavinchove, in the European Parliament that was talking about his mission in Afghanistan that finished after 15 months in January 2013.

According to his words, the main problems of Afghanistan were a drogue dealing with opium and a high level of corruption. Before those troops started their mission in Afghanistan, the country had not known any administration system, structure or a democratic organisation. There were no ministries, no hospital system or integrated education. He demonstrated this fact by an example of attendance of universities when in 2001 it were just 50,000 students, all men, attending universities and now, it´s 9 million people, including women. However, he admitted that there is a need of another 40 years for the country to stabilise and those generations to change. As he added, it all depends always on a political will.

Society in Afghanistan is very different from ours. 75% of population is younger than 25 years and there still exists non-equality between the men and women. According to his statements, it would by the reform made by women that will be educated and as they raise children, they will pass these values to them. Today, 18% of women have mobile phone that is a great step towards the open society.

He was very sorry about the loss of a great number of soldiers and he admitted that instead of battles there could have been established administrative structure since the beginning. Despite the fact that our type of democracy was founded, he says that we are very arrogant to apply our rules in a society that was not ready for that and which is established on tribal relations. He understands the reasons why are citizens of Europe impatient and sceptic about this mission in Afghanistan but there is a big progress that was achieved. He thinks that is fault of European politicians that are not able to explain and persuade people why are those mission necessary. He does not assume that we will leave Afghanistan very soon, if so there would be some kind of support to a government and cooperation to help this state.

In overall, his speech was very moving, persuading and gave us a new point of view that was direct and very positive about the work of soldiers in Afghanistan.


Žofia Jakubová