THE top American army commander has admitted that the US does not have enough troops to sustain its eight-year-old military occupation of Afghanistan, that began in late 2001.
General Stanley McChrystal said that unless more troops were sent, the war would ‘likely result in failure’.
‘Failure to gain the initiative and reverse insurgent momentum in the near-term – while Afghan security capacity matures – risks an outcome where defeating the insurgency is no longer possible,’ he is reported to say.
McChrystal is US and NATO commander in Afghanistan.
His remarks come from a leaked document, seen by the ‘Washington Post’, the newspaper that broke the Watergate scandal in the 1970s, shortly before America’s last troops were forced out of Vietnam.
Parts of the leaked document from which the remarks were taken were omitted by the newspaper, after consultations with the US Defence Department.
‘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,’ a spokesman for the Pentagon said.
President Obama is considering the assessment of troop levels completed by McChrystal over the summer.
But the new president maintained a review of US strategy in Afghanistan would not be driven ‘by the politics of the moment’.
‘Every time I sign an order, you know, I’m answerable to the parents of those young men and women who I’m sending over there . . .’ – Obama remarked, adding: ‘I don’t want to put the resource question before the strategy question.’
There are now about 62,000 US troops in Afghanistan, with Britain and other allies contributing about 35,000 more.
The Stop The War Coalition has called a national demonstration for October 24 in London to demand the withdrawal of US and UK troops.
Their spokesman said yesterday: ‘This confirms what we know, that they can’t win the war, but at the same politically it’s impossible for Obama to pull out of the war because the headlines around the world would be about the Vietnam syndrome and a massive defeat for American imperialism.
‘The logic of this will be they will send in more troops, rather than withdraw.
‘Our solution is that we have to bring the troops out and that whatever the problems in Afghanistan, the US and Britain are part of the problem.’