Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

No strategy and a beige suit

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014

Read more

ENCORE!

Alain Choquette: A Hilarious Magician in Paris

Read more

FOCUS

France welcomes Iraqi Christian refugees

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Emmanuel Macron: A new economy minister with a pro-business agenda

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

More of this year's best Observers stories

Read more

#TECH 24

Changing the world, one video game at a time

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Socialist Party summer conference kicks off in explosive atmosphere

Read more

  • Exclusive: Fabius warns of further sanctions against Russia

    Read more

  • Experimental Ebola drug ‘ZMapp’ heals all monkeys in study

    Read more

  • IMF stands behind Lagarde amid French corruption probe

    Read more

  • Ukraine to relaunch NATO membership bid

    Read more

  • Suriname leader’s son pleads guilty to courting Hezbollah

    Read more

  • British killer escapes from French psychiatric hospital

    Read more

  • Chelsea’s Torres set for AC Milan switch

    Read more

  • Police hunt for British boy with brain tumour taken to France

    Read more

  • France shines in IMF list of world’s promising economists

    Read more

  • Mapping Ukraine: Canada and Russia in ‘tweet for tat’ row

    Read more

  • First case of Ebola confirmed in Senegal

    Read more

  • Obama has 'no strategy yet' on potential Syria strikes

    Read more

  • Netflix to woo French with ‘House of Cards’ set in Marseille

    Read more

  • French businesses ‘hoping for a new Thatcher’

    Read more

  • Syrian refugees surpass 3 million, UN says

    Read more

  • West backs Ukrainian claims of Russian incursion

    Read more

  • Libyan PM resigns as Islamists set up rival administration

    Read more

  • UN says 43 peacekeepers captured in Golan Heights

    Read more

  • The deleted tweets of Manuel Valls

    Read more

  • Peru seizes record 6.5 tonnes of Europe-bound cocaine

    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

COMMENT(S)