The US had “pushed for a bigger European involvement” in Afghanistan which resulted in NATO taking over in Southern Afghanistan onJuly 31. But it doesn’t look like NATO is the answer for the US in Afghanistan at least yet. NATO commanders had beenasking for more troops. NATO leadership has been reluctant to send more and Rummy is presently meeting with NATO nations in Albania to“remind them of their commitment” and get NATO to provide sufficient troops “though it may take some prodding.”
NATO is also suppose to also take over in the eastern part of the country but one wonders given all of the above and now anAP article in yesterday’s Stars and Stripes reports that a US 4 star general will be taking control in Afghanistan. The move comes in part to counter the Taliban/Afghan perception that the US appeared weak and was going to withdraw…
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — An American four-star general will take charge of both U.S. and NATO forces here, boosting the stature of the military mission in Afghanistan and unifying an international operation struggling to contain a resurgent Taliban militia.
The move appears to elevate the importance of the Afghan war for the Pentagon, since four stars is the U.S. military’s highest rank and both the U.S. and NATO forces are now led by three-star generals.
Washington previously put a four-star general, Gen. George Casey, in charge of Iraq operations. Another four-star, Gen. John Abizaid, is the top U.S. commander throughout the Middle East and Central Asia.
There is growing alarm at increases in Taliban strength, numbers and brutality after the group was all but defeated by 2003. The U.S. military estimates 4,000 Taliban fighters are operating just in Afghanistan’s southern provinces.
Many here – including Taliban rebels – believe Washington displayed weakness by handing the toughest Afghan counterinsurgency battles to Canadian, British and Dutch troops, said Antonio Giustozzi, a military researcher in Kabul with the London School of Economics.
“They thought it looked like the Bush administration was paving the way for a withdrawal,” Giustozzi said. “Maybe sending a four-star general is a way to show the commitment is still there. It’s also cheaper than sending more troops.”
Adding one star sounds like more of Rummy’s doing it on the cheap.And the Taliban thinks Bush is weak and was going to Cut-n-Run. Hmmmm…Sounds like he’s emboldened the terrorists!