Wednesday 22 May 2019

Generals tell Obama 'don't cut and run in Afghanistan'

Robert Winnett in Washington

THE US military is to urge President Barack Obama not to withdraw troops from Afghanistan too rapidly.

Gen David Petraeus, who took command of the Afghan mission last month, is expected to use a series of interviews next week to say the military needs time to complete its work in the country.

The US President and Britain's prime minister David Cameron have both said troops will begin leaving Afghanistan in July next year, ahead of a planned total military pull-out by 2015.

Mr Obama is expected to come under pressure in the run-up to the 2012 presidential election for a rapid withdrawal of troops.

Yesterday, a poll showed that the majority of Americans were unhappy with his handling of the war.

Military concerns over the strategy in Afghanistan have emerged after fears were raised that the Americans are seeking to leave Iraq too quickly.

The US military will end combat operations in Iraq at the end of this month and troops will begin returning home.

However, the head of the Iraqi Army warned on Wednesday that the US army would be needed for another decade.

Gen Petraeus, who previously headed the US campaign in Iraq, took over in Afghanistan after his predecessor, Gen Stanley McChrystal, was forced to leave following his criticism of the vice-president in a magazine interview.

He is expected to begin speaking publicly about the mission this weekend. It is understood he will say that the additional 30,000 troops ordered as part of a "surge" in the country will not all have arrived until later this month and that the strategy needs more time.


Counter-insurgency experts are reported to have warned that they have only begun making breakthroughs in the past 12 months -- despite the US mission in Afghanistan beginning in 2001.

A senior Obama administration official told 'The New York Times': "Their argument is that while we've been in Afghanistan for nine years, only in the past 12 months or so have we started doing this right.

"And we need to give it some time and think about what our long-term presence in Afghanistan should look like." (Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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