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 ‘Afghan War is winnable’

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PostSubject: ‘Afghan War is winnable’   Wed Jun 03, 2009 12:44 am

Wednesday, June 03, 2009


WASHINGTON:
The Army general chosen to take over as top commander of US and the Nato troops in Afghanistan told senators on Tuesday he believes the war can be won if a proper counterinsurgency campaign is undertaken.

“I believe it is winnable, but I don’t think it will be easily winnable,’’ Lt-Gen Stanley McChrystal said at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

He predicted that US and allied casualties will increase as more American troops take on the insurgents in southern Afghanistan this summer. “A classic counterinsurgency strategy, well resourced, is going to be required,’’ McChrystal said. If confirmed, McChrystal would replace Gen David McKiernan, who was fired on May 11 in an unusual wartime shake-up. McChrystal’s background is in the secretive world of special operations, including a lengthy stint in Iraq leading the military’s hunt for high-value terrorist targets. He currently is director of the Joint Staff at the Pentagon.

Under questioning from senators, McChrystal stressed the importance of minimising Afghan civilian casualties as allied forces apply counterinsurgency tactics designed to gain the confidence and support of the local population.

“How we conduct operations is vital to success. This is a critical point. It may be The critical point,’’ McChrystal stressed. “This is a struggle for the support of the Afghan people. Our willingness to operate in ways that minimise casualties or damage - even when doing so makes our task more difficult - is essential to our credibility. I cannot overstate my commitment to the importance of this concept.’’


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