US General calls for re-inforcements in Afghanistan


Member of The Month SEPTEMBER 2009
Senior Member
Jun 8, 2009
‘Taliban depend on Pak havens’

While the insurgency is predominantly Afghan, it is clearly supported from Pakistan, says the top US and NATO commander in Afghanistan.

In an confidential assessment of the war, US Army General Stanley McChrystal says that without additional forces and a new strategy, the mission will likely result in failure.

In a 66-page document McChrystal writes: Senior leaders of the major Afghan insurgent groups are based in Pakistan, are linked with Al Qaeda and other violent extremist groups, and are reportedly aided by some elements of Pakistan’s ISI,” which is its intelligence service.

Al-Qaeda and other extremist movements “based in Pakistan channel foreign fighters, suicide bombers, and technical assistance into Afghanistan, and offer ideological motivation, training, and financial support.”

A three-headed insurgency

McChrystal identifies three main insurgent groups “in order of their threat to the mission” and provides significant details about their command structures and objectives.

The first is the Quetta Shura Taliban (QST) headed by Mullah Omar, who fled Afghanistan after the attacks of September 11, 2001, and operates from the Pakistani city of Quetta.

“At the operational level, the Quetta Shura conducts a formal campaign review each winter, after which Mullah Omar announces his guidance and intent for the coming year,” according to the assessment.

Mullah Omar’s insurgency has established an elaborate alternative government known as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, McChrystal writes, which is capitalizing on the Afghan government’s weaknesses.

“The QST has been working to control Kandahar and its approaches for several years and there are indications that their influence over the city and neighboring districts is significant and growing,” McChrystal writes.

The second main insurgency group is the Haqqani network (HQN), which is active in southeastern Afghanistan and draws money and manpower “principally from Pakistan, Gulf Arab networks, and from its close association with Al Qaeda and other Pakistan-based insurgent groups.”

At another point in the assessment, McChrystal says, “Al Qaeda’s links with HQN have grown, suggesting that expanded HQN control could create a favorable environment” for associated extremist movements “to re-establish safe-havens in Afghanistan.”

The third is the Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin insurgency, which maintains bases in three Afghan provinces “as well as Pakistan,” the assessment says. This network, led by the former mujaheddin commander Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, “aims to negotiate a major role in a future Taliban government. He does not currently have geographical objectives as is the case with the other groups,” though he “seeks control of mineral wealth and smuggling routes in the east.”

Overall, McChrystal provides this conclusion about the enemy: “The insurgents control or contest a significant portion of the country, although it is difficult to assess precisely how much due to a lack of ISAF presence. . . .”

The insurgents make money from the production and sale of opium and other narcotics, but the assessment says that “eliminating insurgent access to narco-profits — even if possible, and while disruptive — would not destroy their ability to operate so long as other funding sources remained intact.”

?Taliban depend on Pak havens?- Hindustan Times


Member of The Month SEPTEMBER 2009
Senior Member
Jun 8, 2009
Army draws up plan to send 1,000 more troops to Afghanistan

Britain is making plans to send up to 1,000 extra troops to Afghanistan to meet the call for reinforcements made by the US commander in Kabul.

The troops would be Britain’s contribution to a military surge called for by General Stanley McChrystal, who commands Nato’s International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) in Afghanistan, some details of which were leaked to an American newspaper yesterday.

A similar surge in troop numbers was credited with turning the tide in the war against insurgents in Iraq.

An extra 1,000 troops, the equivalent of a battlegroup, would increase Britain’s military presence to about 10,000. Britain’s force is already the second biggest after the US, which has 62,000 troops in Afghanistan and will increase this to 68,000 by the autumn.
n a choreographed plan by the Pentagon and the MoD, Nato would be requested for up to 30,000 extra troops to support the new strategy recommended by General McChrystal. Most of the reinforcements would come from the US.

Although Downing Street insisted yesterday that no formal proposals have yet been made, senior government figures acknowledge that a detailed request for more troops is being drawn up and will be presented to Gordon Brown and the Defence Secretary, Bob Ainsworth, once the McChrystal report has been published officially.

In his report General McChrystal calls for a surge in troops to accelerate the training of the Afghan National Army. He warns that without more troops and a new strategy Nato will fail to defeat the Taleban. He gives Nato 12 months in which to regain the initiative.

The Ministry of Defence, which now has a copy of the McChrystal report, is carrying out a review to see where there are gaps in Britain’s “theatre capability”.

Mr Brown had previously been reluctant to increase the number of troops beyond the exisiting level of 9,000 but is now said by Whitehall sources to be considerably more supportive of the need for more troops. The reason for his change of heart is that he sees the logic of boosting the number of troops to train the Aghan Army - a crucial step in Nato and Britain’s eventual exit strategy.

The Government and the military now believe that combat troops will be needed for at least another three to five years before there is any opportunity to draw back from the front line, allowing the Afghan troops to take over the principle security role.

Decisions on deployments are being delayed by continuing questions about the conduct of the Afghan elections, and it is highly unlikely that more troops will be announced until those questions are settled. MoD officials indicated yesterday that it was more likely that troop reinforcements would be fewer than 1,000.

A senior Nato diplomatic source said that Britain had a “spare troop capacity” of about 2,000 soldiers that could be provided for Afghanistan.
However, MoD officials said that about 1,000 extra troops had already been sent to Afghanistan this year - 200 specialists in countering roadside bombs and 700 soldiers for the election period, all of whom are staying, maintaining a baseline figure of 9,000 service personnel.

The reluctance by MoD officials to confirm a potential permanent force of 10,000 reflects the concern expressed by Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup, the Chief of the Defence Staff, about imposing the same pressures on the Armed Forces as were experienced when they were fighting in two simultaneous campaigns - Iraq and Afghanistan. Before the Iraq campaign ended in July, there were 4,100 troops in Basra and 8,000 in Afghanistan.

The MoD officials also said that the Government would want to see which other Nato countries stepped up to the mark once the alliance’s North Atlantic Council formally discussed the requests for more troops made by General McChrystal and approved a “force-generation” programme for Afghanistan.

The senior Nato source said that Germany, France and Italy also had spare troop capacity. However, the death of six Italian soldiers in a suicide bombing in Afghanistan may have put paid to any offer of extra troops from Rome.
Silvio Berlusconi, the Prime Minister, said that his Government planned a “strong reduction” in Italy's total contingent of 3,100 troops. "We are all anxious and hopeful to bring our boys home as soon as possible,” he said.

The German Government might also find it difficult to send more troops given the increasing number of casualties its forces are suffering in northern Afghanistan. The French still have a heavy committment in the UN force in Lebanon and are unlikely to have sufficient troops to add substantially to their presence in Afghanistan until that commitment is reduced.

General McChrystal’s new strategy is based on the premise that more Western troops can mean fewer Western casualties in the long run, provided they are better briefed on how to interact with their hosts.

In his report, General McChrystal says that Isaf is too preoccupied with its own protection, too detached from the Afghan people it is meant to protect and “historically under-resourced” to fight a growing insurgency.

The result is a deteriorating security situation, despite the dispatching of 21,000 US reinforcements, and a “crisis of confidence” among Afghan civilians who might side with the insurgents at any sign of slackening Western resolve, the general states.

His assessment calls for “classic counter-insurgency operations” that “cannot be focused on seizing terrain or destroying insurgent forces; our objective must be the population”.

To win over wavering civilians, Western troops must first guarantee their security, and “security may not come from the barrel of a gun”, he says. “Better force protection may be counter-intuitive; it might come from less armour and less distance from the population.”

To induce low and mid-level Taleban fighters to switch sides, the assessment says that it must offer them a third option of “reintegration”, complete with wages and protection, in addition to the two options of capture and death that have faced them hitherto.

Yesterday a soldier from the 2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiment was killed by an explosion while on patrol in the Gereshk district in central Helmand. He was the 217th British serviceman to die in Afghanistan since 2001.

Army draws up plan to send 1,000 more troops to Afghanistan - Times Online


New Member
Mar 22, 2009
AFP: Troop request on table as Obama weighs Afghan mission

Troop request on table as Obama weighs Afghan mission

By Dan De Luce (AFP) – 8 hours ago

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama moved closer to a crucial decision on the US-led war in Afghanistan after receiving a request from his commander to send in more troops, officials said Wednesday.

With the appeal for reinforcements in hand, Obama and his top advisers could start talking about committing yet more troops to the unpopular war later this week after a wide-ranging strategy review, the White House said.

"It could happen as early as Friday, it could be next week," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters.

As the NATO-led mission struggles to counter a spreading insurgency, Obama faces an appeal for up to 40,000 troops from the commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal.

On Tuesday, the president told lawmakers he had no intention of reducing the US military force in Afghanistan, which will reach 68,000 troops by the end of this year, an administration official said on condition of anonymity.

The choice for Obama may lie somewhere between keeping roughly the current level of troops or opting for the commander's "all-in" approach that would inject tens of thousands of additional troops into the fight against Islamist insurgents.

Top security, military and political advisors met Wednesday in the secure White House Situation Room for a third in-depth meeting on Afghanistan, amid accusations from some Republican lawmakers that Obama was dithering.

The high-stakes war council comes amid rising public doubts over the mission, a spike in US and NATO casualties and an increasingly tenacious insurgency, eight years into what is now one of the longest US military operations on record.

In a move suggesting he may be close to making up his mind, the president asked for the troop request document last Thursday before setting off for Copenhagen, where he briefly met with McChrystal aboard his plane.

The troop request had been closely held by Defense Secretary Robert Gates to avoid leaks of the politically sensitive document, the Pentagon said.

A "formal request" for more troops vetted by the US and NATO military chain of command had not yet been presented to the president, Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said.

Gates had earlier said he would hold off on passing on McChrystal's request until a White House review of strategy was completed.

Requests for forces are usually reviewed by senior US military leaders before being passed on to the defense secretary and the president.

An earlier sensitive document from the commander -- an assessment of the war -- was leaked to the media last month, piling political pressure on Obama's deliberations.

"We wanted to avoid a repeat of what we saw with the assessment frankly," Morrell said.

A new poll Wednesday added to the political tumult whipped up around Obama's decision-making process.

The Quinnipiac University survey found 65 percent of voters willing to have US soldiers fight and possibly die to stamp out extremists operating in Afghanistan.

But only 38 percent of those asked said they would be willing to send more troops to Afghanistan.

Other polls have shown rising public anxiety over the war, launched to target Al-Qaeda and its Taliban hosts after the September 11 attacks in 2001.

Wednesday is the eighth anniversary of former president George W. Bush's 2001 announcement of the start of air strikes in Afghanistan.

This year has been the deadliest of the war, with 394 foreign troops killed in 2009, including 236 Americans, according to an AFP toll.

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