Archive for Stanley McChrystal

German general fully support airstrike

Posted in counterterrorism, foreign policy with tags , , , , , , , on September 10, 2009 by admin

German general backs officer in Afghan airstrike

Germany’s top military commander in Afghanistan said Wednesday he stood “fully behind” the German commander who called in a U.S. airstrike on fuel trucks hijacked by Taliban that killed civilians as well as insurgents.

Brig. Gen. Joerg Vollmer insisted in a phone interview with The Associated Press that Germany’s relations remain good with its NATO allies, including the United States, even after the U.S. military criticized the German officer who requested the attack in northern Kunduz province.

An Afghan official appointed by President Hamid Karzai to examine Friday’s attack said his best estimate of the death toll was 82, including at least 45 armed militants. (Problem here: how to discover who are terrorists and who are civilians, when no terrorist wears an identification?).

The top NATO and U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, has pledged a full investigation.

…Insurgents have stepped up attacks in Kunduz, a province dominated by Pashtuns — the largest Afghan ethnic group from which the Taliban garner their support and recruits. Some analysts say that insurgents have been able to operate with relative freedom because of the German military’s policy to make the security of its own troops its top priority.

Vollmer hinted that operations like Friday’s airstrike — the first German-led action in seven years to cause significant militant deaths — could become more frequent in future.

Vollmer blamed the tense security situation in Kunduz on the lack of Afghan police, the influx of former refugees returning from Pakistan and Iran, and efforts by militant groups to protect lucrative smuggling and extortion rackets from government interference.

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To send more troops or not to send them: that is the Afghan question

Posted in counterterrorism, foreign policy with tags , , , , , , on September 9, 2009 by admin

That is the central question the NYT wants to answer in this article:

In deploying 68,000 American troops there by year’s end, President Obama has called Afghanistan “a war of necessity” to prevent the Taliban from recreating for Al Qaeda the sanctuary that the terrorist group had in the 1990s.
….In interviews, most counterterrorism experts said they believed the troops were needed to drive out Taliban fighters from territory they have steadily reclaimed in recent years. But critics on both the right and the left say that if the real goal is to prevent terrorist attacks on the United States, there may be alternatives to a large ground force in Afghanistan. They say Al Qaeda can be held at bay using intensive intelligence, Predator drones, cruise missiles, raids by Special Operations commandos, and even payments to warlords to deny haven to Al Qaeda.
…But most specialists on counterterrorism and counterinsurgency, both inside and outside the government, say the threat of terrorism cannot be confronted from a comfortable distance, such as by airstrikes or proxy forces alone. While it may take years to transform Afghanistan into a place that is hostile to Al Qaeda, they say, it may be the only way to keep the United States safe in the long term. Many agree with the classified strategy for a troop buildup that Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the top commander in Afghanistan, has presented to Mr. Obama and the Joint Chiefs of Staff in recent days. 

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