Afghan war ‘deteriorating,’ U.S. NATO boss warns
September 21 2009
Weeks after taking command of all NATO troops based in Afghanistan, U.S. Gen. Stanley McChrystal wrote a confidential report to the Pentagon, advising that the war was “deteriorating” and could be lost without sending in additional troops.
In a report dated August 30, McChrystal informed U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates that NATO would not be successful in defeating the country’s insurgents if it didn’t change its strategy and better organize its approach with allied forces.
“Although considerable effort and sacrifice have resulted in some progress, many indicators suggest the overall effort is deteriorating,” McChrystal said in his report.
While McChrystal acknowledged in his report that “additional resources are required” to win the war, he wrote that focusing too heavily on “force or resource requirements misses the point entirely.”
The Washington Post published the report on its website on Monday, with the exception of some portions that the U.S. government requested be withheld. The newspaper first reported the details of McChrystal’s assessment of the war late Sunday.
Geoff Morrell, a spokesperson for the U.S. defence secretary, confirmed the report, but said the Pentagon would not release McChrystal’s assessment.
“While we would have much preferred none of this be made public at this time we appreciate the paper’s willingness to edit out those passages which would likely have endangered personnel and operations in Afghanistan,” Morrell said in an email statement.
Additionally, McChrystal wrote that “there is a crisis of confidence among Afghans — in both their government and the international community — that undermines our credibility and emboldens the insurgents. Further, a perception that our resolve is uncertain makes Afghans reluctant to align us against the insurgents.”
CTV’s South Asia Bureau Chief Janis Mackey Frayer said that Afghan officials don’t want to see any more foreign troops inside their borders.
“Afghan officials, and particularly those affiliated with the Afghan security forces, are saying that, really, international troops are the last thing that Afghanistan needs,” Frayer told CTV’s Canada AM on Monday morning from Kabul.
Instead, the officials would rather have money sent “to try to bolster, train and hire more Afghan forces,” Frayer said. “There are currently about 130,000 Afghan police, some 80,000 Afghan soldiers and they (officials) are saying that should be the focus here, not to reinforce to Afghans that there is a foreign occupation of their country.”
McChrystal’s report is now in the hands of U.S. President Barack Obama, who is reviewing its contents while he decides whether to send more U.S. service members into Afghanistan.
A separate report from McChrystal on the Afghan war will soon be sent to the White House and the Pentagon, which will detail the troop and resource needs of U.S. troops. Weekend media reports suggested the U.S. general had completed the second report, though his senior spokesperson, Rear Adm. Gregory Smith said Sunday that it was not yet finished.
In a series of recent television interviews, Obama explained the questions he is asking the military as he considers what resources to provide them with.
“How does this advance America’s national security interests? How does it make sure that al Qaeda and its extremist allies cannot attack the United States homeland, our allies, our troops who are based in Europe?” the president said.
“If supporting the Afghan national government and building capacity for their army and securing certain provinces advances that strategy, then we’ll move forward,” Obama continued. “But if it doesn’t, then I’m not interested in just being in Afghanistan for the sake of being in Afghanistan.”
The release of McChrystal’s report on the Post’s website comes at a time when a partisan debate on the future of the war is raging in Washington: Senate Republicans want to see more troops in the war-torn country, while many Democrats want to put on the brakes.
Since taking office, Obama has sent 21,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, who pushed into Taliban-districts in the weeks leading up to the country’s Aug. 19 election.
McChrystal officially took command of the nearly 90,000 U.S. and NATO troops in the Afghanistan on June 15.
A 66 page report mostly propaganda. We can win, ya right. They really need a reality check.
The war in Afghanistan is not winnable.