On road to winning counterinsurgency: Allen
KABUL (PAN): The outgoing NATO-led forces commander in Afghanistan, Gen John Allen, who handed over to Gen Joseph Dunford on Sunday, has said that the multinational troops had gone 'a long way' towards winning a counter-insurgency.
Allen, set to be nominated as the alliance's supreme commander in Europe, told the BCC in an interview that counter-insurgencies took a while and it was difficult to put a dot on a calendar and say, 'Today, we won,".
"I think we have gone a long way to setting the conditions for what, generally, usually, is the defining factor in winning a counter-insurgency - to set the conditions for governance, to set the conditions for economic opportunity.... I think we are on the road to winning."
Cleared of misconduct by the Pentagon in a scandal that led former CIA director David Petraeus to resign last month, Gen Allen managed the transfer of security across much of the country to the Afghan army and police during his 19-month tour.
Gen Dunford, a Marine like Gen Allen, took over the leadership on Sunday in a ceremony at International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) headquarters in Kabul.
"Today is not about change, it's about continuity," said Dunford, who is expected to be ISAF's last commander in Afghanistan overseeing the withdrawal of most of the foreign troops. "What has not changed is the will of this coalition," the new commander said.
But Gen Allen said that the idea of no American military presence in the country was not an option, and that he had not even been asked to look at its feasibility.