Thursday, September 11, 2008
A top US military official has said he is not convinced his country is winning the war in Afghanistan.
Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee success in Afghanistan would require more civilian effort beyond the military fight.
Mr Mullen said: “Frankly, we’re running out of time.
“I’m not convinced we are winning it in Afghanistan. I am convinced we can.”
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Violence in Afghanistan has soared over the past two years as al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters have regrouped in the remote region between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Mr Mullen said: “These two nations are inextricably linked in a common insurgency that crosses the border between them. We can hunt down and kill extremists as they cross over the border from Pakistan … but until we work more closely with the Pakistani government to eliminate the safe havens from which they operate, the enemy will only keep coming.”
It’s nearly seven years since US-led forces toppled the Taliban after the September 11, 2001, attacks.
US commanders in Afghanistan have requested three more combat brigades, about 10,000 soldiers. About 33,000 US troops are already there, including 14,000 who are part of a 53,000-strong Nato military command.
And President George Bush this week promised more troops.
The officials said the West should do more to help Afghans with new investments in roads and other infrastructure, education and crop assistance.