Taliban taking advantage of reduced US troops: Campbell
Testifying before the powerful Armed Services Committee of senate on Thursday Gen. Campbell said the Taliban intensified attacks on security forces recently in Afghanistan.
“I think the Taliban know that we've downsized. I think the Taliban understand that in the past, they couldn't gather in larger formations. I think we've seen this year that they have taken advantage of the reduction of the number of coalition aircraft, absolutely,” Gen Campbell said.
“Again, the network in Afghanistan where you get Haqqani, Al Qaida, LeT, it's all intermingled. We know for sure that ISIL, we know for sure that A.Q. and some of its remnants, have already attacked the U.S., and want to continue to have vision on doing that. So the Taliban support that in other ways,” he said.
Campbell exuded confidence that the Taliban can be beaten. “They are not 10 feet tall. But in many areas of propaganda, their information ops have convinced many of the security forces that they can beat them, they can,” he said.
Gen. Campbell, however, said that the Taliban can be defeated and the advantage they had was the use of indirect ways of attacking security forces, spreading fear among people by targeting civilians and innocent people.
On the Afghan security forces part, he said that like any other professional armies they had to fighting by rules care about civilian casualties and follow discipline in everything they did. The Taliban on the other side had no mercy on civilians and had nothing for the people of Afghanistan, he believed.
Campbell indicated that if the situation in Afghanistan does not improve, the US would stay there for longer term. “I have made my recommendations to adjustments on the capabilities that are required based on what we learned in 2015. And the 5,500 number is primarily focused on Counter terrorism. If the Afghans cannot improve, we're going to have to make some adjustments. And that means that number will most likely go up,” he said in response to a question.
“I want to keep 9,800 as long as I can in 2016 before I have to drop to 5,500. To do that, after the fighting season between October-November- December time frame, it's going very, very difficult,” he asserted.
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