Miliband to Obama: Back your general and send more troops

Back your general and send more troops, David Miliband urges Barack Obama

by Francis Elliott and Michael Evans
The Times [UK]
October 2, 2009

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David Miliband urged President Obama to embrace a renewed “hearts and minds” strategy in Afghanistan as ministers indicated that they would not send more British troops unless the US adopted such an approach.

The Foreign Secretary did not mention America by name but called on every government in the coalition to back troops, aid workers and diplomats in support of a clear plan. “We came into this together. We see it through — together,” he told the Labour conference in Brighton.

His words reflect a growing concern in the Government over Mr Obama’s apparent reluctance to garner political consent for a troop “surge”, which commanders say is needed to build up the Afghan Army and defeat the Taleban insurgency. General Stanley McChrystal, the top commander in Afghanistan, wants a revamped counter-insurgency — more forces on the ground engaging civilians and persuading the Taleban to switch sides — as opposed to a counter-terrorism strategy focused on al-Qaeda — reducing troop numbers and attacking militants mostly with drone missile strikes…

…General McChrystal, speaking in London at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, said that the campaign had been underresourced in the past. “The situation is serious — and I choose that word very, very carefully. Neither success nor failure can be taken for granted.” Isaf had to show it would support and protect the people. “In the end we don’t win by defeating the Taleban or by a body count but when the Afghans have decided that we have won.” He added that the coalition did not have an infinite amount of time. “These efforts will not remain winnable indefinitely. Public support will not last indefinitely.”

The entire article is at the TimesOnline.

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