Pentagon privately voiced concerns about Afghan war - Washington Post

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Washington Post reported on Monday that Pentagon officials privately told a watchdog for years about their deep concerns about the U.S. war strategy in Afghanistan, including senior officials who were publicly more hopeful

Reuters December 10, 2019 02:12:40 IST
Pentagon privately voiced concerns about Afghan war - Washington Post

Pentagon privately voiced concerns about Afghan war  Washington Post

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Washington Post reported on Monday that Pentagon officials privately told a watchdog for years about their deep concerns about the U.S. war strategy in Afghanistan, including senior officials who were publicly more hopeful.

The Washington Post obtained thousands of documents from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, the government's watchdog on the war, which interviewed more than 600 people. The Post obtained the interviews through a Freedom of Information Act and two federal lawsuits.

The disclosure comes as U.S. President Donald Trump and the Pentagon look to draw down the number of forces in Afghanistan to focus more on battling al Qaeda and Islamic State, as the administration hopes for a peace deal with the Taliban.

The United States went into Afghanistan in 2001 and ousted its Taliban leaders after they refused to hand over members of the al Qaeda militant group behind the Sept. 11 attack on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon.

About 2,400 U.S. service members have been killed in the Afghan conflict and many thousands more wounded.

"We were devoid of a fundamental understanding of Afghanistan — we didn't know what we were doing," Douglas Lute, a three-star general who was given a central role in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan by U.S. President George W. Bush, told interviewers in 2015, the Post said.

Military commanders throughout the war publicly talked about their hopes that the conflict in Afghanistan was turning a corner, even as the Taliban held on to large parts of the country and killed U.S. and Afghan forces - without having any air combat capability.

Still, the U.S. military leaders have periodically talked about their concerns about the war, particularly when seeking increases in troops or in capabilities needed to fight the Taliban.

In 2010, then-Major General Michael Flynn, deputy chief of staff for intelligence in Afghanistan for the U.S. military and its NATO allies, sharply criticized the work of U.S. spy agencies in Afghanistan, calling them ignorant and out of touch with the Afghan people. Flynn later served as Trump's national security adviser.

The Post also obtained some of Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's memos between 2001 and 2006.

"We are never going to get the U.S. military out of Afghanistan unless we take care to see that there is something going on that will provide the stability that will be necessary for us to leave," Rumsfeld said in one dated 2002.

(Reporting by Idrees Ali and Phil Stewart; Editing by Nick Macfie)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.