Allen recommends increased US air support to Afghan forces
WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): A former top American general on Tuesday said the situation on the ground in Afghanistan was ‘more challenging today’ but not beyond the capacity of Afghan forces.
“The situation has become more challenging and perhaps worsening, but this is not something which is beyond the capacity of the Afghan forces,” retired general John Allen, the former Commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, said.
He said resurgence in Afghan Taliban activities had been seen and the challenge Washington faced was stabilizing of US troop numbers and providing air support to Afghan forces.
Addressing a panel discussion at the Brookings Institute, a top American think-tank, Allen recommended increasing US air support to Afghan forces and stabilizing US troops in the country.
He believed long term success of Afghanistan was going to be the function of the Afghan security forces and their capabilities to secure the nation.
Noting that the security situation in Afghanistan is worsening, Vanda Felbab-Brown, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute, said the Afghan government was cut out from large parts of the country.
She said the difficult security situation in Afghanistan was not only because of Taliban and ISIS, but also due to criminality in Afghanistan including kidnapping of people. “This has impounded a deep sense of insecurity and fear in everyday life,” she said.
“We are at a moment of interesting and challenging situation in Afghanistan,” Falbab-Brown said ruing that electoral reforms have struck to an end. “There are various views that the current government must come to an end.”
Bruce Riedel, a former CIA official, now with the Brookings Institute, said though Al-Qaeda was not destroyed, but its capabilities significantly diminished.
“Our capability in Afghanistan has been largely defensive in the last 15 years,” he said, adding continued safe havens in Pakistan made the things difficult.
He said the next US president should consider striking inside Pakistan like the one against Mullah Mansoor and against other terrorist groups inside Pakistan. “We should try to disrupt and dismantle the terrorist safe havens and networks and their capabilities inside Pakistan.”
Riedel said Pakistan today had a thriving free press, not necessarily a responsible free press. “We have also seen a transition from one democratic government to other democratic government. This is a milestone,” he said.
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