- Gentlemen, start your drones: Judge’s ruling opens door for commercial use
- Soldier who hid, bragged about not saluting flag to be punished — in secret
- ‘Maverick’ of the seas: ‘Top Gun’ school for U.S. ship officers to launch
- Putin declares Sochi Paralympics open amid Ukrainian protest
- ‘In Jesus name, we pray’ sparks ire at Ohio council meeting
- Navy’s first laser weapon ready for prime time; drone killer to deploy this summer
- Billionaire backer: Rick Santorum ‘needs to be heard’ in 2016
- Obamacare fallout: 49 percent pessimistic; 45 percent ‘scared’
- DHS accused of holding U.S. citizen at airport, using emails to pry into her sex life
- Seattle socialist: Minimum-wage discussion skewed by ‘right-wing’ GAO analysis
Low al Qaeda count stirs new war debate
With the American public growing more pessimistic about Afghanistan, war proponents are renewing their case in the face of new estimates that say no more than 100 al Qaeda operatives remain in the country.
In one of his first statements to Congress after being picked in June to command war operations, Army Gen. David H. Petraeus explained why nearly 100,000 troops are in Afghanistan nine years after the conflict began.
“In short,” Gen. Petraeus said, “we cannot allow al Qaeda or other transnational extremist elements to once again establish sanctuaries from which they can launch attacks on our homeland or on our allies.”
Couple that with remarks by the former commander, retired Army Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, who said, “I do not see indications of a large al Qaeda presence in Afghanistan now,” and the question arises about why the U.S. is in Afghanistan, given it was al Qaeda that attacked on Sept. 11, 2001. Why aren’t U.S. troops fighting in Pakistan, where the al Qaeda leadership, including Osama bin Laden, fled and regrouped?
“If you don’t have an Afghan government that can stand by itself, the Taliban will be back,” he said. “That means civil war and maybe genocide. Al Qaeda will be back and so will camps that could lead to the next 9/11, plus a resurgence of terrorism across South Asia and huge propaganda victory for al Qaeda.”
Some pro-war analysts dispute the estimates on al Qaeda.
Bill Roggio, an analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies who edits the LongWarJournal.org, said his sources, the enemy’s martyrdom statements and a reading of command press releases indicate that many more al Qaeda operatives are in Afghanistan.
“I’ve been doing my own investigation on this, looking for al Qaeda cells in Afghanistan,” Mr. Roggio said. “A thousand would be my estimate. A lot are low-level fighters. But they are members of al Qaeda.”
“The Taliban and al Qaeda already have safe havens inside Afghanistan, despite a U.S. presence,” Mr. Roggio said. “If we walk away from Afghanistan, instead of keeping them occupied with fighting us, they are going to be free to do what they did prior to 9/11, which is plan attacks against the U.S.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
TWT Video Picks
Taxpayers must pay the freight for over-budget train projects
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- Rand Paul wins 2014 CPAC straw poll, Ted Cruz finishes a distant second
- Bill Clinton cashes in on struggling nonprofit hospital
- Vietnam says it may have found door of missing Malaysian jet as intel look into stolen passports
- CPAC 2014 straw poll results
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- PIPES: Islam's inadvertent adverse effects on adherents
- CARSON: Why did the founders give us the Second Amendment?
- Italy outraged over U.S. gun dealer's 'David' ad
- WEBER: Obamacare cuts home healthcare for millions of seniors
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again