Admiral: We Can't Kill Our Way to Victory, CNN

Shaheryar Azhar, moderator, The Forum

Four stories:

1. “Admiral Mullen: Troops Alone Will Not Yield Victory in Afghanistan, CNN
2  “Pakistan Orders End to Foreign Incursions”, CNN
3. “U.S. To Focus on Pakistani Border”, BBC
4. “Pakistan Did Not Agree to New Rules, Officials Say”, Washington Post

There appear to be contentious positions: US straining at the leash to go into Pakistani areas and Pakistan insisting it alone will act there. I have no way of knowing whether this is actually so or not or merely appears to be so. But it will be foolish for both parties to confront each other on such a matter. They both will lose and militants will win. So here is what I think should happen to achieve maximum results, if not outright victory.

1. To prepare the stage we need a regional dialogue to ensure everyone is on the same page – ideally between Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and India but at the minimum minus Iran. One of things that must emerge is settling the Durand Line dispute between Afghanistan and Pakistan and making visible headway between India and Pakistan on their composite talks.

2. All parties must agree that theater of operations against al-Qaeda and al-Qaeda-allied Taliban includes Pakistan because militants have sancturies in Pakistani tribal and border areas from which they are mounting deadly attacks on both inside Pakistan and Afghanistan.

3. U.S and Pakistan must agree that the best way to move forward for now will be to let Pakistan do it alone when it comes to troops, missile and air attacks but that Pakistan and US will fully share all intelligence in all theaters. This is necessary because involvement of US troops or aircrafts will only lead to greater radicalization of Pakistani population and increase recruitment of the militants without conferring any particular military advantage (this must be a necessary conclusion given how US/NATO forces have fared in Afghanistan up till now where they have operated without let or hindrance, particularly how they have alienated local population, making their military mission impossible). In addition, a high-powered commission, consisting of senior most officers of Pakistan and US forces will be in constant sitting for as long as stability has not been achieved. This will allow US to directly monitor progress of Pakistan’s efforts and give input of their assessment of Pakistan’s effectiveness or lack thereof while allowing Pakistan a forum where they can talk about American and Afghan strategy and situation on Afghan side of the border as it impacts their military and political efforts.

4. U.S must engage with the Taliban and other Pashtun nationalists by offering aid and share in political power for as long as they stop attacking allied forces and kill or drive away al-Qaeda from their ranks.

5. U.S/NATO forces must be augmented by two brigades (about 9000 soldiers) as Senator Obama has called for.

7. Pakistani forces must undergo training by American commanders, particularly those from Iraq and must be equipped with the necessary equipment.

A regional, patient and a step-by-step approach, given now that Pakistan has a democratic government and America will soon have General Petraeus could yield dramatic results (also it is time for American commanders to amend and update its classic Iraq manual on fighting insurgency for Afghanistan).

Admiral: Troops alone will not yield victory in Afghanistan

  • Story Highlights
  • “We can’t kill our way to victory,” Adm. Michael Mullen says
  • Mullen makes remarks a day after President Bush announces troop deployments
  • Poverty, drug trade, Pakistani political uncertainty all exacerbate situation, he says
  • Afghanistan needs investment, alternative crops, good governance, Mullen says
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WASHINGTON (CNN) — The U.S. is “running out of time” to win the war in Afghanistan, and sending in more troops will not guarantee victory, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff warned Congress on Wednesday.

Adm. Michael Mullen says investment and alternative crops will also be key to winning in Afghanistan.

Adm. Michael Mullen says investment and alternative crops will also be key to winning in Afghanistan.

Adm. Michael Mullen made his statement to the House Armed Services Committee a day after President Bush announced the deployment of 4,500 additional troops to the poor, war-ravaged nation.

Mullen said he is convinced the war can be won, but the U.S. urgently needs to improve its nation-building initiatives and its cross-border strategy with Pakistan.

“We can’t kill our way to victory, and no armed force anywhere — no matter how good — can deliver these keys alone. It requires teamwork and cooperation,” Mullen said, according to prepared remarks for his appearance before the House Armed Services Committee.

Mullen’s remarks came a day before the seventh anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, which prompted the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan.

The Taliban government harboring the al Qaeda movement that conducted the 9/11 attacks was overthrown soon after U.S. and British troops entered the country in October 2001, but the militants have re-established their presence there. And Mullen says they’ve grown “bolder.”

Cross-border attacks into Afghanistan by militants in Pakistan’s tribal region are a problem, and the U.S. has deployed Predator drones to attack targets in Pakistan. Last week, U.S. troops entered Pakistan, a move that prompted condemnation from Islamabad.

Mullen stressed that Afghanistan can’t be referenced without “speaking of Pakistan,” where, he says, the militant groups collaborate and communicate better, launch more sophisticated attacks, employ foreign fighters and use civilians as human shields.

“In my view these two nations are inextricably linked in a common insurgency that crosses the border between them,” he said, adding that he plans “to commission a new, more comprehensive strategy for the region, one that covers both sides of the border.”

“I have pressed hard on my counterparts in Pakistan to do more against extremists, and to let us do more to help them,” he said.

The conflict is exacerbated, he said, by the “poor and struggling Afghan economy,” as well as the drug trade and “significant political uncertainty in Pakistan.” These factors present a “complex, difficult struggle.”

Mullen said he has urged the “growth and training” of Afghan forces and U.S. military officials recommend the deployment of a Marine battalion this fall and another army unit early next year, which Bush announced Tuesday.

The deployments are not enough for now but are “a good start,” Mullen said. There are more than 30,000 U.S. troops under coalition and NATO commands in Afghanistan.

“Frankly, I judge the risk of not sending them too great a risk to ignore. My expectation is that they will need to perform both the training mission and combat and combat support missions simultaneously until such time that we can provide additional troops. I cannot at this point say when that might be,” he said.

He is confident that Afghan security forces can be trained and developed.

“In fact, they are on track to reach a total end strength of 162,000 troops by 2010. The Marines conducting their training are doing a phenomenal job,” he said.

At the same time, Mullen warned “that no amount of troops in no amount of time can ever achieve all the objectives we seek.”

Until Afghan security forces gain the backing of local leaders to improve security, “we will only be as much as a crutch — and a temporary one at that,” the admiral said.

“We can hunt down and kill extremists as they cross over the border from Pakistan, as I watched us do during a daylong trip to the Korengal valley in July. But until we work more closely with the Pakistani government to eliminate the safe havens from which they operate, the enemy will only keep coming,” he said.

Mullen also said roads, schools and courts can be built and repaired, but that is not enough either. Afghanistan needs more experts in commerce, agriculture, jurisprudence and education. The nation also needs “foreign investment, alternative crops, sound governance and the rule of law.”

Until then, Mullen said, courts, schools and other government buildings “will remain but empty shells.”

Pakistan orders end to foreign incursions

  • Story Highlights
  • Pakistan army chief says no foreign troops to conduct operations inside Pakistan
  • He said decision made after a “reckless” U.S. operation last week
  • U.S. military chief says Afghanistan, Pakistan “inextricably linked”
  • He says Afghan militants use Pakistan to communicate, collaborate easier
  • Next Article in World »
From CNN Senior International Correspondent Nic Robertson
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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) — Pakistan’s military chief said Wednesday that no foreign forces will be allowed to conduct operations inside Pakistan in light of last week’s “reckless” U.S. military ground operation.

Pakistanis in Multan protest what they say was a U.S. attack using Predator drones.

Pakistanis in Multan protest what they say was a U.S. attack using Predator drones.

Pakistan’s “territorial integrity … will be defended at all cost and no external force is allowed to conduct operations … inside Pakistan,” according to a military statement attributed to Chief of Army Staff Gen. Parvez Kayani — who succeeded Pervez Musharraf after he stepped down as Pakistan’s army chief last year.

The announcement came as Pakistan’s military resumed its battle against Taliban militants in its tribal region, two army spokesmen said. More than 20 militants and four security forces were killed in Monday’s fighting in Bajaur Agency, they said.

The anti-Taliban operation was initiated on August 6 but was suspended September 1 for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, with the exception that security forces would respond if attacked.

A ground incursion last week by U.S. forces into Pakistan strained relations between the two countries. Pakistan summoned the U.S. ambassador in Islamabad to complain about the incident, which it said killed 15 civilians.

The Pentagon has not confirmed the raid, but a senior U.S. official — who declined to be named — told CNN’s Barbara Starr that U.S. helicopters dropped troops into the village of Angoor Adda in South Waziristan, which borders Afghanistan. The official said there was no evidence of any civilian deaths.

The U.S. official who spoke to CNN said the operation was launched fairly quickly without formal permission from Pakistan’s government after it became clear there was sufficient intelligence to take the risk of putting U.S. troops on the ground in a potentially hostile area of Pakistan.

In the U.S., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, warned Congress on Wednesday that cross-border attacks into Afghanistan by militants in Pakistan’s tribal region are a problem, and the U.S. has deployed Predator drones to attack targets in Pakistan.

Mullen said Afghanistan can’t be referenced without “speaking of Pakistan,” where, he said, the militant groups collaborate and communicate better, launch more sophisticated attacks, employ foreign fighters and use civilians as human shields.

“In my view these two nations are inextricably linked in a common insurgency that crosses the border between them,” he said,

He added the U.S. is “running out of time” to win the war in Afghanistan, and sending in more troops will not guarantee victory. On Tuesday, President Bush announced the deployment of 4,500 additional troops in Afghanistan.

US to focus on Pakistani border

US troops in Afghanistan

America is beefing up its troops in Afghanistan

The chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff has called for a new strategy in Afghanistan which will deny militants bases across the border in Pakistan.

Adm Mike Mullen said he had asked for a “a new, more comprehensive military strategy for the region that covers both sides of that border”.

The US must work closely with Pakistan to “eliminate [the enemy’s] safe havens”, he told Congress.

Pakistan insists it will not allow foreign forces on to its territory.

“There is no question of any agreement or understanding with the coalition forces whereby they are allowed to conduct operations on our side of the border,” said Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff, Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.

A surge of US attacks in Pakistan’s border region over the past week has prompted outrage from the government and army.

Now stating it as a strategy will only add to the pressure on Pakistan’s new President, Asif Ali Zardari, as he grapples with the militants, the BBC’s James Coomarasamy reports from Washington.

‘Inextricably linked’

Adm Mullen was speaking a day after US President George W Bush announced that about 4,500 extra US troops would be sent to Afghanistan by February 2009, boosting the 33,000 currently in the country.

Adm Mike Mullen testifying at the US House of Representatives
Until we work more closely with the Pakistani government to eliminate the safe havens from which they operate, the enemy will only keep coming
Adm Mike Mullen

Addressing the House Armed Services Committee, he argued that militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan were waging a common fight.

“In my view, these two nations are inextricably linked in a common insurgency that crosses the border between them,” he said.

“We can hunt down and kill extremists as they cross over the border from Pakistan… but until we work more closely with the Pakistani government to eliminate the safe havens from which they operate, the enemy will only keep coming.”

Adm Mullen conceded the challenge was great, pointing to Afghanistan’s drugs and economic problems, and the “significant political uncertainty” in Pakistan.

‘Reckless actions’

However, Pakistan’s military chief said in a statement that his country’s “sovereignty and territorial integrity” would be “defended at all cost”.

Gen Kayani also expressed concern about a cross-border raid by foreign troops on 4 September in which at least 15 Pakistani villagers were killed.

“Such reckless actions only help the militants and further fuel the militancy in the area,” he was quoted as saying.

The army spokesman said the general had aimed to dispel impressions in the media that he had granted permission for US raids.

In another development, Canada confirmed its troops would leave Afghanistan by 2011.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Wednesday that his nation – which suffered significant losses in Afghanistan in recent years – had no appetite for keeping its troops on in Afghanistan past a 2011 deadline imposed in March by parliament.

“You have to put an end date on these things,” he told Canadian reporters.

“We intend to end it.”

washingtonpost.com

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Pakistan Did Not Agree to New Rules, Officials Say

By Karen DeYoung
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, September 12, 2008; A10

New rules of engagement authorizing U.S. ground attacks inside Pakistan, signed by President Bush in July, were not agreed to by that country’s civilian government or its military, according to U.S. and Pakistani officials.

Gen. Ashfaq Kiyani, the Pakistani army’s chief of staff, was informed last month by senior U.S. defense officials that if Pakistan failed to stem the flow of Taliban and other militant fighters into Afghanistan, the United States would adopt a new strategy, one allowing ground strikes on targeted insurgent encampments. A senior Pakistani official said that Kiyani believed the strategy was still under discussion and that Pakistan’s counterinsurgency performance was improving.

News of Bush’s order, following a strike last week by helicopter-borne U.S. commandos on a village about 20 miles inside Pakistan, brought denunciation yesterday from Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani, who echoed Kiyani’s earlier charge that the attack had violated Pakistani sovereignty.

Meanwhile, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said at a news conference in Kabul that he approved of the new U.S. strategy, citing the need to “remove and destroy” insurgent sanctuaries in Pakistan. But NATO said it had no intention of sending any of the 48,000 troops under its command in Afghanistan across the border. NATO’s U.N. mandate does not include “ground or air incursions . . . into Pakistani territory,” said spokesman James Appathurai.

Nearly 31,000 U.S. troops are in Afghanistan, divided between the NATO command and a separate force under the U.S. Central Command.

A senior European official said that the NATO allies shared U.S. concern over the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan and were aware new U.S. rules were under consideration, but that they were unaware the rules had been approved. Bush’s July order, first reported yesterday by the New York Times, was confirmed by several U.S. officials.

Husain Haqqani, Pakistan’s ambassador to Washington, said U.S. officials assured him yesterday that “no such order had been given.” The United States, he said, “respects Pakistan’s sovereignty.”

The senior European official called the implementation of the new strategy “peculiar,” since its timing coincided with this week’s inauguration of Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari.

“If you’re going to invade another country . . . without their permission, after you’ve just spent eight years trying to get a democratic government in place, it strikes me as kind of confused politics,” the official said.

Zardari plans to meet with Bush this month, either in Washington or in New York at the U.N. General Assembly, U.S. officials said.

Adm. Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Wednesday that he had called for an overhaul of U.S. strategy, including greater U.S. military involvement in Pakistan’s tribal areas, but gave no indication that orders had already been given.

“I’m not convinced that we’re winning it in Afghanistan,” Mullen told the House Armed Services Committee. But, he added, “I’m convinced we can.”

“That is why I intend to commission and have looked — are looking — I’m looking at a new, more comprehensive military strategy for the region that covers both sides of that border,” Mullen said. “That is why I pressed hard on my counterparts in Pakistan to do more against extremists and to let us do more to help them.”

Mullen and other senior U.S. military officials have met repeatedly with Kiyani to urge a more robust offensive to roust Taliban, al-Qaeda and other militant fighters from safe havens in the rugged Pakistani border region.

Gillani, who heads Pakistan’s first democratic government since 1999, told Bush during a Washington visit in July that he needed more time to implement an economic development strategy to pacify the border region.

But with rising troop deaths in Afghanistan, U.S. patience has run thin. On Tuesday, Bush announced he would send an additional Army combat brigade to Afghanistan early next year.

Previous military rules of engagement, agreed to by Pakistan, allowed U.S. forces to travel up to six miles across the border if they were in “hot pursuit” of fighters chased from inside Afghanistan. The senior Pakistani official said that Kiyani was told last month that failure to increase the tempo of Pakistani military operations and provide better intelligence for American cross-border air attacks could result in new rules.

“There was a conditionality,” the Pakistani official said. “If we take care of certain things on our side, then the rules don’t change.” Improvements were “already being put into place,” he said, attributing several recent U.S. strikes with Predator unmanned aircraft to Pakistani intelligence, and citing an attack this week by Pakistani security forces in the tribal region of Bajaur that reportedly left 100 fighters dead.

But a U.S. official, one of several who discussed the sensitive situation on the condition of anonymity, said that as far as the United States was concerned, “most things have been settled in terms of how we’re going to proceed.”




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