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Petraeus warns against bill seeking end of war in 2011

Petraeus warns against bill seeking end of war in 2011

Mar 17, 2011 - 09:22

WASHINGTON (PANinfo-icon): The top US commander based in Afghanistaninfo-icon has cautioned lawmakers against passing a bill that calls for the withdrawal of all US forces this year, arguing it would be considered a victory by the Talibaninfo-icon and nullify all gains made by the US this past decade.

“The Taliban and Al Qaeda, obviously, would trumpet this as a victory; as a success.  Needless to say, it would completely undermine everything that our troopers have fought so much for and sacrificed so much for,” Gen. David Petraeus, commander of US and NATOinfo-icon-led forces in Afghanistan, said at a Congressional hearing on Wednesday.
Petraeus was responding to question on a pending resolution in House of Representatives, which if passed would direct the US resident to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2011.  
“So needless to say, this would close the door on the very, very hard-fought effort, and a mission that I think is seeking to achieve a very, very important security objective of our country as well as of our allies,” the general said.
Petraeus also told lawmakers that the drawdown of US forces from Afghanistan beginning July might include combat troops, but he did not have any numbers yet. 
“There are still obviously some months to run.  It is something that will be, again, based on conditions on the ground,” he said.
In response to a question about safe havens for militants across the border in Pakistaninfo-icon, Petraeus said the most effective way of influencing Islamabad was through success in Afghanistan so that it realised groups like Al Qaeda, Taliban or the Haqqani networkinfo-icon have no role. 
“What happens in Afghanistan is related to what happens in Pakistan but also vice versa.  And really, even more broadly, regionally, I think you have to take into account the actions of Iran, the actions of the Central Asian states, and certainly India and then, even beyond that, Russia and others are all very important actors in the regional context of this effort,” he said.
“Success in Afghanistan is a country that can secure and govern itself, and in so doing, prevent the reestablishment of sanctuaries by Al Qaeda and like-minded groups,” Petraeus said.    
“Clearly, success will include an enduring level of some international support, very different in character, very different in level, one would think, from that at the present,” he said. 


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