Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Homegrown Jihadists: France Sets Out Plan to Monitor Web and Support Families

Read more

WEB NEWS

Ukrainians turn Russian 'evidence' into meme

Read more

FOCUS

Copenhagen seeks to decriminalise use of cannabis

Read more

FACE-OFF

French president's advisor resigns: A new blow for François Hollande

Read more

ENCORE!

Films as plays, plays as films and TV at the cinema

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Syria: Former hostages recount 10-month ordeal

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

José Bové, Candidate for the EU Commission presidency, Group of the Greens

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Alexis Tsipras, Candidate for the EU Commission presidency, European Left Party

Read more

FOCUS

'Pope-mania' hits John Paul II's Polish hometown

Read more

  • Fatah, Hamas agree to form Palestinian unity government

    Read more

  • New far-right mayor moves to quash Paris region mosque

    Read more

  • Gay marriage, one year on: ‘French civilisation did not crumble’

    Read more

  • Turkish PM offers condolences to descendants of Armenians killed in 1915

    Read more

  • Colombian president reinstates firebrand Bogota mayor

    Read more

  • NYPD public relations campaign on Twitter goes awry

    Read more

  • Russia vows to respond if 'attacked' in Ukraine

    Read more

  • In pictures: Violent protests erupt in Rio

    Read more

  • French hostage Gilberto Rodrigues Leal has died, Islamists say

    Read more

  • 'Pope-mania' hits John Paul II's Polish hometown

    Read more

  • French actress Catherine Deneuve to sell €4 million château

    Read more

  • Chelsea, Atletico draw 0-0 in first leg of Champions League semis

    Read more

  • Ukraine to relaunch offensive in the east after politican 'tortured'

    Read more

  • Echoes of 2pac and Biggie? French rap feud turns violent

    Read more

  • New French film tackles grisly anti-Semitic murder

    Read more

  • Photos link ‘little green men’ in Ukraine to Russian troops

    Read more

  • New anti-radicalisation plans aimed at fighting jihadism

    Read more

Americas

US withdrawal date has boosted morale of Taliban, says general

©

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-08-25

Outgoing US Marines commander General Conway said Tuesday that the 2011 date for withdrawing US troops from Afghanistan has raised the Taliban's morale, and that the Marines should remain in southern Afghanistan for years.

REUTERS - President Barack Obama's July 2011 date to start withdrawing troops from Afghanistan has given a morale boost to Taliban insurgents, who believe they can wait out NATO forces, the top U.S. Marine said on Tuesday.
 
But General James Conway, who is retiring this fall as commandant of the Marine Corps, said he believed Marines would not be in a position to withdraw from the fight in southern
Afghanistan for years.
 
Conway's unusually blunt assessment is likely to fan criticism by opposition Republicans of Obama's war strategy as public opinion of the nine-year-old war sours further.
 
"In some ways, we think right now it is probably giving our enemy sustenance," Conway said of the July 2011 deadline.
 
"In fact we've intercepted communications that say, 'Hey, you know, we only need to hold out for so long.'"
 
Supporters of Obama's July 2011 date to start withdrawing forces from Afghanistan, conditions permitting, say it conveys a needed sense of urgency to Kabul. Afghans must quickly ramp up the size of their security forces for an eventual handover.
 
But critics say the strategy backfired, sending a signal to the Taliban that the United States was preparing to wind down the war while setting unrealistic expectations to Americans about the pace of progress in Afghanistan.
 
Conway, quoting one of his own commanders, told reporters: "We can either lose fast or win slow."
 
The timetable for withdrawal is certain to come under close scrutiny in a White House strategy review in December, which Obama called for last December when he announced the July deadline and a surge of 30,000 additional forces.

"We know the president was talking to several audiences at the same time when he made his comments on July 2011," Conway told reporters at the Pentagon.
 
"Though I certainly believe that some American units somewhere in Afghanistan will turn over responsibilities to Afghanistan security forces in 2011, I do not think they will
be Marines."

In recent months, U.S. officials have played down expectations of any large withdrawal of troops in July 2011.

Conway echoed those sentiments, saying he believed Marines would remain in the south for years -- a fact that would eventually dawn on Taliban insurgents and damage the "enemy psyche."
 
"If Marines will be there after 2011, after the middle of 2011, what's the enemy going to say then? You know, what's he going to say to his foot troops?" Conway asked.
 
"I think it could be very good for us in that context, in terms of the enemy psyche and what he has been posturing now for the better part of a year."
 
Such vocal opinions on the Obama administration's strategy are rare for senior U.S. military officials although Conway is retiring.
 
In June, the former U.S. general in charge of foreign forces in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, was forced to resign after a damaging article in Rolling Stone magazine which shed an unfavorable light on the Obama administration's Afghanistan policy.

Date created : 2010-08-24

  • USA

    Gates and Petraeus at odds over Afghan withdrawal date

    Read more

  • AFGHANISTAN

    General Petraeus says US troop exit date 'not set in stone'

    Read more

  • AFGHANISTAN

    UN report shows rise in civilian deaths, most by insurgents

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)