2007 January 17 Wednesday
NATO Wants More Troops For Afghanistan
Afghanistan is the place that has the real conditions that Iraq would need to justify a US military presence.
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, Jan. 17 — Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said Wednesday that American and NATO military commanders in Afghanistan, worried about a resurgent Taliban insurgency, had asked for additional troops and that he was sympathetic to the request.
Speaking to reporters after a two-day visit to Afghanistan and before heading here for meetings with Saudi officials, Mr. Gates said commanders had “indicated what they could do with different force levels,” but he would not divulge the size of the increases under consideration. A senior Defense official said late Tuesday that the commanders were seeking fewer than 3,500 more American troops as well as about 1,000 more troops from NATO allies.
Remember how Taliban control of Afghanistan allowed Sunni Al Qaeda members to train and organize terrorist attacks on Western targets? Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11. Now if we withdraw our troops and leave the Shia Arabs in control of Iraq the Sunni Wahhabi Arabs will look at the leaders in Baghdad as their enemies. A withdrawal from Iraq would also make it easier to deal with the resurgent Taliban in Afghanistan.
The idesa of preventing every possible training area isn't going to work. The world is too big. Given that someone so inclined can always find someone's back 40 to train in, (although I think that American flight schools are a bigger threat), you have to come up with a better reason for staying in Afghanistan.
That's right, and it's odd how after all of the hot air that's been spent since 9/11 talking about the nature of the new threat from non-state terrorism, how relatively little real estate (and cash) it requires, that we're even in Afghanistan now. We should have kept open communications with the Taliban even as we were fighting them and al Qaeda, making clear to them that they would be left alone if they didn't allow terrorist camps in their territory. All they really needed was to save face. Of course Cheney, Rumsfeld, et al showed a remarkable lack of interest in being thorough about al Qaeda, disengaging early to go into Iraq. Makes you wonder.
The Taliban in fact have proven to be the only force capable of granting or denying sanctuary within Afghanistan, other than us, and we'll have to leave there sooner or later. How much you want to bet we leave the place much like we found it?