- Obama not worried about Ebola at upcoming African summit in D.C.
- Obama: ‘We tortured some folks’ after 9/11
- Obama administration asked whole D.C. Circuit to take on major Obamacare case
- Mark Levin: Topple GOP leadership or country will ‘unravel’
- Massachusetts to let police chief deny gun buys to those deemed unfit
- John Kerry condemns attack on Israeli soldiers, kidnapping
- U.S. starts to evacuate American Ebola patients from West Africa: Report
- Geraldo slammed as ‘dummy’ for backing Clinton’s bin Laden claim
- Israeli spokesman: No need to debate who broke the cease-fire
- 35 Palestinians killed; Israeli officer missing
Petraeus: Afghan concern about Pakistan is legit
Question of the Day
KABUL | President Hamid Karzai’s recent complaints that international forces should focus on militant leaders hiding in neighboring Pakistan instead of Afghan villages doesn’t mean the government no longer supports the U.S. war strategy, the top NATO commander said Tuesday.
Gen. David H. Petraeus said he shared Mr. Karzai’s concern about threats across the border in Pakistan but said the Pakistanis deserve credit for waging what he described as an “impressive counterinsurgency campaign” during the past 18 months.
Afghan National Security Adviser Rangin Dadfar Spanta has argued that U.S. support of Pakistan amounts to nurturing the terrorists’ “main mentor” and that the Afghan people are no longer ready to “pay the price for the international community’s miscalculation and naivety.”
“Given the very clear linkage between attacks on Afghan soil by individuals who have come from Pakistan and are commanded and controlled from Pakistan, I think President Karzai and Dr. Spanta have very legitimate concerns,” Gen. Petraeus said. Still, he added, the Pakistani government has continued to “squeeze the locations in which these individuals have safe haven sanctuary, recognizing that more work needs to be done.”
“He is the one who is pursuing this, but there have been some ways that we have facilitated some of the contact,” Gen. Petraeus said.
The general said it’s natural that the Afghan government wants to take more of a lead role in handling its own national affairs.
He said he’s seeking clarification on the blunt criticism from Afghan governmental officials but does not think the comments reflect diminished Afghan support for his counterinsurgency strategy, which aims to provide security and earn the trust of the Afghan people.
“Over time, I think it is very understandable — as was the case in Iraq as well — to see our host nation partners want to take the lead, want to be more prominent,” he said.
Gen. Petraeus said he has drafted operational guidelines to implement Mr. Karzai’s goal of having Afghan police and soldiers take the lead in the country’s 34 provinces by 2014 as security allows. It remains unclear whether the Afghans will be ready to handle their own security, even four years down the road.
“These guidelines recognize that this is a process, not an event,” he said. “It will typically represent a thinning out of [International Security Assistance Forces], not a handoff per se.”
Talk of a 2014 date enables politicians to tell their war-weary publics that the conflict will not drag on indefinitely, draining resources at a time of economic hardship and rising death tolls. It also sends a signal to the Afghans that the Western commitment to the country will extend beyond July 2011, when President Obama says he will begin withdrawing U.S. troops.
“Transition likely will occur in districts, initially, rather than in entire provinces, although there are some provinces in which that likely will be possible,” the four-star general said.
Earlier, in an interview with NATO TV in Brussels, Gen. Petraeus said Taliban guerrillas still retain the initiative in some parts of Afghanistan despite recent successes by coalition forces. Gen. Petraeus said NATO forces had reversed some of the gains the Taliban had made in recent years in the southern provinces of Helmand and Kandahar and around Kabul.
TWT Video Picks
By Orrin G. Hatch
Procedural changes impede the chamber's traditional deliberative function
- U.N. condemns Israel, U.S. for not sharing Iron Dome with Hamas
- Border agents cleared of civil rights complaints from illegal immigrant children
- Obama military strategy too weak for future security, panel reports
- Ben Carson takes major step toward presidential campaign
- Porn-surfing feds blame boredom, lack of work for misbehavior
- Pentagon wants extra $19M to equip, train Ukrainian troops
- 'Big Bang' star Mayim Bialik helps send bulletproof vests to IDF
- Feds raid S.C. home to seize Land Rover in EPA emission-control crackdown
- Australia issues arrest warrant for men believed to be homegrown ISIL terrorists
- Iraq Christians get meeting with top Obama aide
Top 10 U.S. military helicopters
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors