Levin riled by Karzai’s statement on US role
WASHINGTON (PAN): An influential American lawmaker on Monday said the negative public impression of the Afghan conflict was made worse by regular rancorous comments of President, Hamid Karzai.
Last week, President Karzai told a gathering of tribal elders and youth in southern Helmand province that the US and NATO states were out to craft an agreement between the Taliban insurgents and his political foes.
But Senator Carl Levin said: “I have no illusions about the immense cost that we have borne in Afghanistan, the difficulties that we've encountered ... But I will argue that the negative view of our involvement in Afghanistan is wrong.”
Also chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, he told a Washington audience violence was unlikely to disappear soon from the Afghan landscape. “There is no doubt that elements of the Taliban will seek, mostly by instilling fear and intimidation, to retake territory where they've lost control.”
But the security picture had changed for the better, he said, adding there had been unmistakable signs of progress on rebuilding Afghan security forces. The local security personnel were capable of securing their nation, he said.
However, the Afghan forces still needed US support in logistics, transportation, intelligence and other areas, Levin said, explaining they were clearly capable of carrying the fight to the Taliban, and were doing so effectively.
The US would take about a year and a half to get all its equipment out of Afghanistan, even if the Pakistan route remained open, the senator said. Some of the equipment will be left in the country.
“It is a huge effort to bring back that equipment. It's going to take us a year and a half to get our equipment out, even if the Pakistan road opens up, and down in Karachi is now working again,” he said.
“Some of that equipment is going to be left in Afghanistan for their army, and should be. We have authorised our military to leave certain kinds of equipment to help the Afghan army be a more advanced army.”
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.