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U.S. Generals Indicate No Quick Withdrawal from Afghanistan

Recent statements from top U.S. generals are dashing hopes in the US and among European Allies that the war in Afghanistan will wind down in the next year, despite President Obama's stated intentions to begin troop reductions in July 2011.

Consider comments from the top U.S. Marine in Afghanistan, General James Conway, reported by Daily Times:
In recent months, US officials have played down expectations of any large withdrawal of troops in July 2011. Conway echoed those sentiments, saying he believed Marines would remain in the south for years. He said that Afghan forces would not be ready to take over security from US troops in key southern provinces for at least a few years.

“I honestly think it will be a few years before conditions on the ground are such that turnover will be possible for us,” he said, referring to Marines deployed in the provinces of Helmand and Kandahar. Conway said some Afghan units somewhere might be able to assume the lead for security in 2011 but not in the south.
Further statements by General David Petraeus regarding the Afghanistan drawdown make it clear that the July 2011 date does not signal a hard end of the war, writes GlobalSecurity.org:
Petraeus also repeated his view that the drawdown in U.S. and NATO forces, scheduled to begin in July 2011, will not result in a swift withdrawal.

"July 2011...is the date when a process begins. It is not the date when the U.S. forces begin an exodus and look for the exit and a light to turn out," Petraeus said.
General Petraeus discusses the July 2011 drawdown in a video interview with the BBC, found here.

In the article "Why Europe Fears
Petraeus's Urge to Surge", Financial Times argues that European leaders not only desire a more expedient withdrawal from Afghanistan, but also want to pursue a different strategy for ending the conflict based on negotiations with the Taliban:
In discussions with European generals, diplomats and officials – each involved in their government’s Afghan policy – a common fear emerges. That US president Barack Obama will not be able to refuse demands from Gen Petraeus to extend the surge well beyond July 2011; that the general will continue to push for a continuation of military strategy; and that he will decline any suggestion of opening negotiations with the Taliban – something that many Europeans are very keen on.
...
European officials are coming to the consensus that they would like the Nato summit and Mr Obama’s Afghan policy review – both at the end of the year – to reach a position where negotiating with the Taliban is the political strategy around which military strategy is determined.

Troop withdrawals, which Mr Obama says will start next July, would then take place according to the pace of talks between the US, the Taliban and the Afghan government; not on the basis of hard-to-gauge battlefield success. Europe also wants the US to press Afghanistan’s neighbours not to interfere in its affairs.

Gen Petraeus wants to convince Washington, Nato and Europe to do just the opposite, determining withdrawals on the basis of the military, not the political, situation.

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Pamela on :

Wow. How to miss a story. The entire military command structure is directly contradicting their commander-in-chief. THAT'S the story.

Pat Patterson on :

And, with apologies to Pamela who I often agree with, they should have kept their mouths shut and got on about their jobs. With such a weak president the JCS is running the war but contradicting the president is simply a bad idea regardless of who that president happens to be.

Pamela on :

Oh, I agree they SHOULD - but that they don't is, I think, a measure of their contempt. Fortunately for them, they aren't saying it to Rolling Stone mag.

Pat Patterson on :

Bad precedent to set for future admirals and generals. But agreed in that it shows the weakness of the Administration and the thinly veiled contempt they have for the President and the West Wing. Even Clinton, after some initial gaffes, figured out that the JCS was actually on his side and not an enemy.

Joe Noory on :

Weren't these would be negotiating partners of the Taliban the ones who begged the US; "please don't go it alone" ? Just the suggestion in public is going to cause Afghans who oppose the Taliban to turn on us for the sake of self-protection. What a fantastic way for nations with troops in the field to end a war - by undermining the Afghans! Expect something like the wave of boat people.

Pamela on :

Joe and Pat, you'll love this. P.J. O'Rourke went to Afghanistan. "The 72 Hour Expert" But the Taliban isn’t winning much love either—otherwise we and our NATO allies would have already gone the way of the Soviets. The civil society activist had a very Afghan insult for the Taliban: “The Taliban has the power to kill and people still don’t like them.” CLASSIC P.J. http://www.theweeklystandard.com/articles/72-hour-expert ---------- And as for 'something like the wave of boat people' - we've seen it before when the Soviets invaded. The Washington D.C. area was suddenly swamped with Afghanis. They opened restaurants. Someone should do a study of global conflict based on the cuisine of the restaurants that open in the D.C area.

Marie Claude on :

but Joe will rescue the boat people, he's got such a big heart for the sans papiers

Pamela on :

tough darts, MC I don't.

Pat Patterson on :

As big as the French do for the Roma?

Marie Claude on :

tiens, I was expecting you on that one, but http://euobserver.com/9/30657 Italy to raise EU citizen expulsion policy at September meeting -the "invaded" countries are rebelling cuz of the mess that the Schengen agreements generated http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,5944924,00.html EU reviewing France's Roma expulsion as Paris digs its heels in -de quoi se mêle t'on in Eurocratie? money debt is national, but regalian rights are Brussels burocrats's ! http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,713796,00.html 'Injurious, Defamatory and Polemical': New Book Plunges Germany into Immigration Debate... - ça commence à chauffer sur le sujet là aussi !

Pat Patterson on :

That doesn't make much sense to equate what Italy wants to talk about with what France actually did?

Marie Claude on :

hmmm professor Zebulon has difficulty to connect the neurones now ? actuallly, Italy has this "worry" for quite a while too, and couldn't get the fact discussed in Brussels, now, that France, as the 2nd biggest EU member, undertook the "expels", the Brussels burocrats will have to reflect of the problem and think about a common policy for helping Romania to deal with its minority

Marie Claude on :

Troops Wonder: WTF Are We Doing In Afghanistan, Again? http://bit.ly/dj6hE4 http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/26/world/asia/26kabul.html?_r=3 that's the "complete flou" er hmmm, Sarko reaffirmed that french troops will stay in Afghanistans as long as the American would need them ! uh, they would be more useful in Magreb fighting AQ

Joe Noory on :

It's interesting that you completely misread the article. Why would the US need to fight in the Maghreb, or is nothing your countrymen ever want the responsibility of your countrymen? The other part of your throw-away response imagining what I'm supposed to personally do about boat people is rather amusing too. It tells me that you don't reason. All you ever want is some way to open your mouth in such a way that makes you feel like you possess all the wisdom in the universe. It's a lot like you thinking that you understood the entire state of the financial structure by linking, over and over, a psychotic diatribe written in the 1970s by someone who was merely trying to prove that a cabal of Jews ran the universe.

Marie Claude on :

ah joe superman is showing off "It's interesting that you completely misread the article. Why would the US need to fight in the Maghreb, or is nothing your countrymen ever want the responsibility of your countrymen?" it is interesting that you completly miread my comment: did I say that the US need to fight in the Maghreb ? but sure some french troops did a few weeks ago, and that they did it by requests from Mali and Mauritania, though that their importance isn't significant enough... as usual, you can't see the positive aspect of our deployment, but you're biased, every sane person knows that! "The other part of your throw-away response imagining what I'm supposed to personally do about boat people is rather amusing too. It tells me that you don't reason." no, I was jocking at you, isn't it enough fer ya ? "All you ever want is some way to open your mouth in such a way that makes you feel like you possess all the wisdom in the universe. It's a lot like you thinking that you understood the entire state of the financial structure by linking, over and over, a psychotic diatribe written in the 1970s by someone who was merely trying to prove that a cabal of Jews ran the universe." n'importe quoi as usual, update your readings, but you can't, I know that

Pat Patterson on :

MC did miss the point of the first article in that she is trying to imply deteatism yet "... What they wanted to hear was a sure path — any path — to winning it." That hardly qualifies as the angst and ennui the Europeans seem to approach everything important.

Kevin Sampson on :

So send them there, it's not like you need our permission. Or maybe, on some level, you do?

Marie Claude on :

deteatism ? hmm, since I watched the american military blogs, I didn't see any advocating to stay in Afghanistan, they almost think that's a waste of money and of human lifes sure I'm not relying on Joe's to get my infos !

Kevin Sampson on :

What american military blogs would those be?

Pamela on :

what blogs?

Marie Claude on :

sont-ils curieux ;-) hmmm some know Belmont Club, PatDollard Breitbart War is boring Dangerrooom... different forums according to the events, such planes crash, deads in Afhanistan... uh

Kevin Sampson on :

Belmont Club? When did Wretch ever say that?

Marie Claude on :

Wretch is the only duck that writes on BC

Pamela on :

Crimeny. THIS is a military blog Long War Journal http://www.longwarjournal.org/ Amd Michael Yon is always worthwhile. http://www.michaelyon-online.com/ Mudville Gazette http://www.mudvillegazette.com/ You're welcome

Marie Claude on :

thanks, Michael Yon on my sources too

Pat Patterson on :

Unfortuntely both Pat Dollard and Michael Yon share one thing in common in that both have been predicting an overwhelming Taliban spring offensive since at least 2006. While Dollard argued that the US would never retake Ramadi or Fallujah without thousands of casualties, the Sunni Awakening was hype and that Sadr would soon control all of the South. . Except with Sadr the last anybody heard from him was that his one year course to become an ayatollah seems to be working on it fourth year in Qom. Dollard is mainly for cranks but Yon admits when he is wrong and comes up with some gems often. Long War Journal is excellent along with Small Wars Journal, Strategy Page, Defence Weekly, the very expensive Jane's, US Central Command, The Torch (Canadian), the web pages for the 1st and 3rd Armies and Steven Pressfield for larger tactical and strategy discussions.

Pat Patterson on :

Shoot, I just got an email reminding me that The Torch, using a new name, is by invitation only. Canadian war news is covered adequately through DND Talk.

Marie Claude on :

hmmm I haven't investigate http://www.longwarjournal.org/ though got it in archives

Marie Claude on :

"In Afghanistan, the leadership in Moscow always knew this was all about the US and NATO trying to establish a new hegemony in Central Asia - full spectrum dominance all over again. But then Moscow found out - following the Chinese example of investing US$3 billion in mines south of Kabul - that the best of possible worlds would be to make money while the West got bogged down in a winless quagmire. Call it the Shanghai Cooperation Organization way of running rings around NATO." http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/LH27Df02.html uh, the dindons de la farce, c'est nous !

Pat Patterson on :

Yeah an article that talks about Angelina Jolie and the completely discredited Paul Kennedy is very convincing. Considering that the best fighting force Russia has, the 58th Army is still in Georgia and South Ossetia signing contracts is about all they can do. While China's deal for the Aynak copper depoits has turned into a bust, BTW the contract was signed two years ago, as barely 3% proved recoverable unless open pit mining is allowed. The Afghans might take the contract away from China as the deal was to start exatracting asap not manana.

Marie Claude on :

though: Russian subs stalk Trident in echo of Cold War http://bit.ly/cD7xBd comme au bon vieux temps

Kevin Sampson on :

WTF does this have to do with Afghanistan??

Marie Claude on :

too bad you can't see the logic

Pat Patterson on :

Nothing obviously as The Telegraph also made it quite clear that the Russians had failed in every attempt. But I would like to give MC the benefit of the doubt as her comment that she followed, "... american military blogs.." when she meant she followed blogs about the American military. At least I hope that is what she intended if not the relying on the comments there is tantamount to using numerology to decide one's daily schedule.

Kevin Sampson on :

They failed in every attempt that we know of. But if they had attempted it and succeeded, it is unlikely we would have detected the attempt.

Pat Patterson on :

True, but MC was implying that the Cold War was back and that as usual the US, I don't know if she noticed it was the Royal Navy, is behind the curve once again.

Marie Claude on :

only a professor Zebulon can dicern that though some say: "The Russians have been playing games with us, the Americans and French in the North Atlantic," a senior Navy commander said.

Kevin Sampson on :

So why don't you try explaining your 'logic'?

Marie Claude on :

too subtil fer ya ;-)

Kevin Sampson on :

Must not be all that logical, then.

Marie Claude on :

it can't be written a school boy exercise book

Pat Patterson on :

Descartes proved the existence of Man by three words, "Cogito ergo sum." So it's certainly not unreasonable to expect an attempt to explain a particular logic.

Marie Claude on :

but you aren't expecting a philophical dissertation, when you, yourself, defined the thought process Molière wrote many plays about chicanery http://tinyurl.com/375n5zp you (and a few of your comrads) gave me plenty of stuff that could be a illustration of "Chicanery"

Pat Patterson on :

Instead of straw men and changing the subject how about answering Kevin's question?

Marie Claude on :

strawmen, who that ? you ? there is no reasonable response to a stoopid question

Pat Patterson on :

I think you just proved that.

Marie Claude on :

Patterson, you're making a semantical Ponzi scham with wind and I know of what I'm talking about, as a former philosophy terminale class first price

Kevin Sampson on :

Hmmm, sounds like a case of poor communications skills.

Marie Claude on :

uh, what are you talking about , ;-)

Kevin Sampson on :

Sorry, it’s too subtle for you, and besides, it can’t be written in a schoolboy exercise book.

Marie Claude on :

very good for a parrot !

Kevin Sampson on :

Or a mirror.

Marie Claude on :

so, when you look into a mirror, seeing me make you feel better ? ça peut aller loin LMAO

Kevin Sampson on :

You believe others see you when they look in a mirror? Seek professional help MC, you have serious, serious issues.

Marie Claude on :

It took you quite a while to find your parade I'm amusing at you since longer though, but you have little imagination, Herr Professor zebulon is a bit more "coriace"

Pat Patterson on :

I don't know which is more irritating. the reference to obscurities or the attempt and failure to use American colloguisms. Neither advance an argument and only point out that there is essentially only one person on this thread that has used personal insults.

Marie Claude on :

"Neither advance an argument and only point out that there is essentially only one person on this thread that has used personal insults." welll that is laughable: 3/4 of the comments section is drowned with your pathological chicanery !

Kevin Sampson on :

S/he is a troll, and should be treated as such.

Marie Claude on :

hmmm, are you seeing yourself in your mirror ?

Pat Patterson on :

MC-Of the 59 comments here in this thread you have made, 25, almost half of them. Are you accusing yourself of chicanery?

Marie Claude on :

I was responding to two chicaneurs

David on :

Pat, I note that you have provided 15 of the comments. Why don't you become active in your local Tea Party and get out a bit?

Pat Patterson on :

Sorry to disappoint your childish assumptions but I teach, research and surf. And at least my comments don't automatically brand anyone who disagrees with me a racist and they are all coherent.

Marie Claude on :

uh then you need to change your glasses

Marie Claude on :

BTW, being a teacher has never been an insurance against dumbness

Pat Patterson on :

And the old adage about a monkey, if given enough time, might produce a great piece of literature, could also apply to certain French revanchists. But in the meantime...

Marie Claude on :

in you soporific dreams ! suppose that I'm not buying your sources !

Pat Patterson on :

Ah, Albert(a) is back at the keyboard. In all this you still haven't offered an explanation to Kevin.

Marie Claude on :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=teMlv3ripSM&translated=1

Marie Claude on :

the surfer is still on the wave did you find what you were re-searching?

Zyme on :

Well Pat we don't agree on every occasion and I must admit that I havn't followed this discussion. But I can understand your reluctance against joining a political movement. They always have this dirty aura attached to them, don't they? That is at least what keeps me from joining one.

Pat Patterson on :

I try to follow Groucho Marx's advice when it comes to joining groups.

Pat Patterson on :

Small Wars Journal has an article which concentrates solely on Afghanistan as winnable, even Michael Yon is beginning to see some progress, according to Gen Petraeus. I think the Administration has basically given up on a timeline unless, as Iraq, they can either take the credit or blame Bush. http://tinyurl.com/34mmed8

Marie Claude on :

http://www.slate.fr/story/26445/russes-retour-afghanistan Les Russes sont de retour en Afghanistan Et ne sont pas forcément mal accueillis. uh we don't see such new on the anglo-american medias

Pat Patterson on :

Probably for the same reason we don't often publish anything truely negative about the French. That would be like stealing the crutches off a one-legged man. http://tinyurl.com/2waeott

Marie Claude on :

hmmm you wouldn't have even known him if it wasn't "no pasaran" kind effort to flam anything french ! I give you more spice: «C’est une guerre américaine. Quand vous êtes actionnaire à 1 %, vous n’avez pas la parole.» http://tinyurl.com/36wyumg uh look like he is right, but his intervention wasn't made in the opportune time, just after that MacCrystal was fired out

Pat Patterson on :

So the fact that I had to go to a French blog to read about the foot-in-mouth of a French general is lost on you? Proves my point we generally don't publish truely negative things about the French because it is inconsequential and often still born.

Marie Claude on :

because you're bad losers, and too arrogant to listen to advices

Marie Claude on :

"Faut-il continuer à laisser la technique diriger la stratégie générale ou doit-on la remettre à sa juste place" s'interroge Vincent Desportes. Familier du monde militaire d'Outre-Atlantique, le général décrit "la culture américaine qui donne à la technique un rôle central dans la résolution des problèmes." hmmm, sure close contacts isn't a US speciality ! http://secretdefense.blogs.liberation.fr/defense/2009/07/desportes.html you read french now ?

Marie Claude on :

Petraeus asks NATO for troops http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/117325-reports-petraeus-asks-nato-for-troops uh that mill not make it, he should ask Vlad !

Marie Claude on :

"Russian P.M. Vladimir Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev are afraid of Taliban militancy fanning the flames of revolt in provinces such as Chechnya. They also fear that Afghanistan's poppy trade is hooking Russian youth on heroin and exacerbating Russia's demographic decline, threatening a further deterioration in its geo-political power. Russia now has about 141 million people, but it was 146 million or more in 1991. Its population is continuing to decline as deaths outstrip births every year, though the rate of decline has slowed. But Medvedev estimates that the country has as many as 2.5 million addicts, 2/3s of them under the age of 30. Afghan heroin is thus in danger of accelerating the population loss again. (Much of the population loss probably has to do with alcohol abuse by men to begin with, though the economic collapse and capitalist "shock therapy" may be implicated, as well). Since Afghanistan is now the source of 85 percent of the world's heroin, and since the poppy-growers thrive in a failed-state environment, the Russian Federation increasingly has an interest in seeing order imposed on Afghanistan and the poppy production slashed." http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2009/09/09/cole

Marie Claude on :

http://tinyurl.com/29ckbuq Twenty years after Soviet humiliation, Russia seeks a return to Afghanistan

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