Afgahn forces won`t be ready for takeover in south: US
Last Updated: Tuesday, August 24, 2010, 22:46
  
Washington: Afghan forces would not be ready to take over the security from US-led NATO troops in key southern provinces of Helmand and Kandahar for at least a "few years", the head of the US Marine Corps said on Tuesday.

Terming Helmand and Kandahar as "birthplaces of Taliban", Marine Corps Commander Gen James Conway said some Afghan security units may be able to take over from US forces in other parts of the country 2011.

"I honestly think it will be a few years before conditions on the ground are such that turnover will be possible for us," he told reporters at the Pentagon here.

The US plans to pull out its troops from Afghanistan in phases beginning next year.

"I think it will be a few years before conditions on the ground are such that we would expect to be able to turn over to Afghan forces. I think there's a mindset that needs to accompany that on the part of our Marines...," he said.

He said he believes "some American unit somewhere in Afghanistan will turn over responsibilities to Afghan security forces in 2011".

Conway became one of the top commanders of the country to acknowledge that the US is increasingly becoming tired of the war in Afghanistan.

"I sense our country is increasingly growing tired of the war, but I would remind that the last of the 30,000 troops only arrived this month. I would also quote the analysis of one of my regimental commanders when asked about the pace of the war. He said we can either lose fast or win slow," he said.

He said the military leadership have to do a better job of talking about the last chapter of this book, if it simply tries to walk away.

"I don't think that we have done a strong enough job in convincing the American people there are good and just reasons why we have to destroy the al Qaeda and the associated Taliban in Afghanistan, similar to what we did in Iraq, certainly to the point where there is no future opportunity for save haven, certainly to the degree that we can create conditions for that Afghan government to rule the country and avoid safe haven," he said.

"I think there's a mindset that needs to accompany that on the part of our Marines, that it may be a while," Conway said.

The Marine Corps commander said that significant elements of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda leadership are out of the country, not susceptible to the day-to-day contact, not susceptible to the Special Forces that focus on such things.

"They are avoiding that type of jeopardy is noted by their foot soldiers. So we think that there's a seam there that we probably can exploit, okay? That's the essence of it," Conway said.

PTI


First Published: Tuesday, August 24, 2010, 22:46


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