Sunday, July 19, 2009
The US defense secretary has admitted that the American public will likely stop backing the war in Afghanistan a day after a top US military chief said he can not see an end to the long-fought war.
“After the Iraq experience, nobody is prepared to have a long slog where it is not apparent we are making headway,” Robert Gates told The Los Angeles Times.
Gates admitted that the American public, and the US military are unwilling to get trapped in an aimless quagmire abroad, following the Iraq war.
“This is where we are really getting back into the fight,” Gates said.
While admitting that the war in Afghanistan is a “long-term prospect” which cannot be won in one year Gates said foreign troops must begin turning around the situation in Afghanistan within a year.
Seven and half years after the US-led invasion of Afghanistan, Adm Michael Mullen said in an interview with the BBC at the Bagram airbase in north of Kabul that he has no idea how long it will take for security to improve in Afghanistan.
“I don’t know how long. I know that it’s gotten progressively worse over the last three, three-and-a-half years, since 2006, and the Taliban has gotten much better,” Mullen said.
Deep public unhappiness with the war in Iraq helped make former President George W. Bush unpopular president in recent history.
The remarks come as US-led foreign forces stationed in the country have killed many Afghan civilians in their alleged war with Taliban insurgents in the troubled southern provinces.
High Afghan civilian casualty inflicted by coalition forces and particularly indiscriminate US air raids has been the focal point of arguments between the Washington and the government of Afghan President Hamed Karzai.
Meanwhile,Taliban-linked militants have killed dozens of US-led troops across the volatile country during the last two weeks.
So far this month at least 47 deaths have been reported among foreign forces. The deaths make July the deadliest month for the US and its allies in Afghanistan since the 2001 invasion.
More than 100 US troops have died this year in the conflict-torn country. The deaths pile further pressure on the governments involved in the invasion.
The US has deployed 21,000 additional combat troops to Afghanistan and chosen a new commander to help fight militancy in the south and the east of the country.
The US-led coalition invaded Afghanistan in 2001 to allegedly destroy militancy in the country, arrest its leaders and bring an end to opium trade.
This is while Afghanistan’s opium output has risen more than 40-fold since invasion 8 years ago, according to the United Nations’ figures. Afghanistan’s eastern and southern provinces produce much of the heroin that funds the Taliban.
The conflict-torn country supplies more than 90 percent of the world’s heroin.
This article was posted: Sunday, July 19, 2009 at 5:58 am