This just came up on McClatchy. Because of the outcome of the November 2, 2010 election, with the new Republican House majority, there is now less pressure on President Obama to stick to his earlier pledge of beginning a troop withdrawal timeline of July 2011 in Afghanistan. This December was supposed to be the month for the big “review” of the ongoing military operations (and the Pentagon budget was supposed to be passed before the pre election campaign break and the lame duck session, and that didn’t happen, either) and now it will be a smaller review – ‘with no major changes in strategy.” Other than those American troop withdrawals will be delayed at least until 2014. Remember when a few weeks ago the military said the Afghan transitional stuff was going better than expected? Wrong narrative when you’re on the international arms sales circuit.
NATO’s spent 19.4 billion on “training” Afghans in the past 7 years. What is the current message for the NATO meeting on Nov 18 in Lisbon ? send more trainers. “No trainers, no transition.”
The only thing McClatchy didn’t mention was that the Taliban and assorted terrorists and homegrown guerrilla combatants traditionally take the winter off in Afghanistan.
And of course, they’re trying to blame Pakistan. You could see this coming a mile down the road. Why would Pakistan wish to interrupt the gravy train of having a foreign country “fighting” your pesky terrorists and selling intelligence to it ? The earlier 2011 date, claims a Pentagon advisor in the story, had Pakistan trying to negotiate a “political settlement instead of military action.”
“This administration now understands that it cannot shift Pakistani approaches to safeguarding its interests in Afghanistan with this date being perceived as a walk-away date,” the adviser said.
And of course, everyone was speaking anonymously. There is now no timeline, nor will Gen. David Petraeus being doing one of his publicity tours, er, testimonies before Congress in December, the way he was all last spring and summer before the latest Afghanistan/Pakistan offensive.
Whoops. Did I say Pakistan.