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Is coalition mission in Afghanistan still realistic?

September 18th, 2009
02:14 PM ET

U.S. General David Petraeus, who has overall control of troops in Afghanistan, has warned that the Taliban is “without question” strengthening its grip on the country. [cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/09/18/afghanistan.italy.troops/art.italy.afghan.jpg caption="A recent car bomb targeting allied troops killed six Italian soldiers in Kabul."]

In a speech in London Thursday - just hours after a new deadly car bombing targeted coalition forces in Kabul - Petraeus insisted the coalition “mission was still do-able” but “the stakes are high.”

Petraeus, the architect of the “surge” strategy credited with halting spiraling violence in Iraq, warned that the West needed to be steadfast in its commitment to Afghanistan if results were to be achieved.

The U.S. general’s comments came as Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said it would be “best” for his country’s troops to leave Afghanistan as soon as possible after six Italian troops died in Thursday’s car bombing.

U.S. public commitment to Afghanistan has also been wavering. Some in America are urging a full U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, advocating the use of a battle fought from afar using unmanned drones and a small special operations force.

Earlier this week, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said it was to early to say whether more American troops were needed in Afghanistan, despite increasing levels of violence.

Biden said a reevaluation of resources in Afghanistan should only happen after the results of last month’s presidential elections, themselves marred by sporadic violence and numerous allegations of corruption.

Do you think the coalition mission in Afghanistan is still achievable? What do you think is the best way to end the violence?

Filed under:  General
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Muthyavan.

    Afghanistan has become a new challenge to the international society, as casualties figures are reaching many nations across the world. Recently held elections for a new President for Afghanistan did not give a satisfactory figures, the Importance of installing a duly elected government has become necessary and difficult. So that corruption and local drug manufacturing together with the terror threat originating from that country to the world peace has become important for many nations to send their troops to install a democratic peoples government. What is going to be the breakthrough and how can these objectives achieved, without a proper answer from the international society this conflict may take a long time with more casualties.

    September 18, 2009 at 4:30 pm | Reply
  2. erwin or irvin

    we have to understand that the idea of talibans is to use the good weather and try to advance at the most possible way.they are trying to regain terrain also by incorporating the villages with their personnel.
    but hold your ground and remember its already september and the bad weather is comming so they need the villages.what to do.infiltrate those villages with local personnal and prepare for winter.movements around valleys and displaying the troops by air to secure passages if required also we have to be carefull with the use of helicopters because they have anti-air defenses too its not only land mines and please dont patrol on foot use the armour to protect infantry street by street road by road infantry only out when enemy spoted one whistle right two left secure get inside vehicles progress slowly and efectavily.also the use of high-tech like survey cammeras and sattelite data base.so lets resume enemy tactic to infiltrate villages and to move fast thru mountain terrain.dont go in their game.play ours use motorbikes in the mountains like they´ve been using(like germans did in WWII ).move or stay still next question.
    my opinion stay still and try to control villages make them run to the mountains and wait for the cold and hunger to dispearse their troops.
    the war of iraq was a war for a fast war the afganhistan is bad terrain so it provides only one choice hold your back well and progress and gain terrain slowly now
    third thought for fast movements dispearse the troops in a circular movement around the main afg and then slowly progress inside
    fourth thought what material is most required – for movement armour but for bad terrain artillery power.the mountains should stay for the air force to destroy first.
    fifth tought aviation what type?airplanes with good capacitie of fire against the soil and bombers and many missiles.
    sixth thought coalition matter it shows what the iraq war showed the better that there were divergences and differences inside the nato force.
    i believe that the countries should be more united than ever and not to show those diferences of thought.
    it is not wise to show diferences in face of the enemy it shows division and therefore they gain more increased stimulus, like they think they stand a chance and that by consequence creates more raids by them.
    so 1- wait for winter
    2-progress in villages with armour
    3-occupie only valleys or some terrain slowly
    4-aviation to destroy mountains
    5-coalition should stand or bring other allies?
    6-if required by ground generals increase number of troops
    7-don´t forget to infiltrate the villages and try campaigns that would make population happy.vacinations distribution of clothes that could came from around the nato allies.humanitarian assistance might be a way of keeping the coalition together.the countries that want to dispearse should be invited to stay for humanitarian causes and their troops could be focused on that.


    did it take me long to grab your attention or it was necessary all of those previous contacts?
    keep talking(once in a while when not occupied)

    yours faithfully,

    September 18, 2009 at 11:25 pm | Reply
  3. David Callard

    Abandoning Afghanistan to the Taliban is simply not an option. Just imagine what a Taliban victory would do for the morale of every jihadist everywhere, not just in Afghanistan, not to mention the massive refugee crisis such a victory would bring about.

    Yes, we have to get our strategy right. We must do more to avoid collateral damage to civilians and perhaps we may have to forget about building a democracy for a while. Maybe it might be better to replace the current hopelessly corrupt government with a UN mandated administration supported by a suitably robust military force. Extreme? Yes, but so is the problem.

    The election is clearly illegitimate. Afghanistan is fast becoming a totally failed state and yet again it is the ever suffering civilian population that is paying the bitter price of failure. I suggest that if the Afghans were to find that they were no longer being terrorised and slaughtered by the Taliban, that the streets were safe day and night, that the schools and hospitals were actually working, or under construction using Afghan labour our mission would quickly gain civil support. Let us not forget that despite our tragic military accidents in any popularity poll between the Taliban and the western forces I suggest we would still come out winners. Of course it is crucial to the operation that we are not seen as conquerors but liberators. That is the political dimension of the war.

    We must realise there never was a quick fix to Afghanistan's crisis. This is truly a nation building project that will take decades to complete. But it could also stand as a noble example by which the commitment of the West to its own stated humanitarian principles. History will judge either way.

    I write from Australia. We presently have a modest force in Afghanistan but I would certainly vote for a government that committed to a substantial increase to our commitment.

    September 21, 2009 at 1:19 pm | Reply
  4. erwin or irvin

    Hello there.

    This time is to bug you about Pavlov experiment do u think conditioning is possible or not?
    Lets put it like this the dogs salivated because they associated the sound of a bell to the presence of food.But what would happen if the dogs were fed.what i mean is that for that experiment to be valid the dogs had to be starving because fed the association would still be there but with no response so conditioning is possible or not what do think.Can we conditionate the resposes of others or noto r even in some cases predict them.
    About myself i could even tell u that i was raised by nouns and after adopted by a portuguese family and that i have no known relatives what will leed you to think?
    Why don´t u follow like i did what´s obvious points in common and diferences and u arrive very fast to my thru origins.Could be gael prussian english or breton or whatever focus on what u know about your high-tech or its not yours?
    About the balls i thought that that would be a question that would raise some friction.
    After all naturally they were alright only after they got problematic or they did not?
    Men can do wonders but can´t go against nature the dna and the result of that Leeds to what we trully are.Nature always overcomes science in that or not?
    Military speaking obama did well first the tactic after the men after all without knowing the tactic its impossible to know what means we need.
    Sieges and mountains for air-force.
    Good movement towards Rússia.
    Changing the subject because nobody understands what is important is this message deep down and dirty its more my style.´
    And yes i don´t like latin women (perhaps u could tip them of) because were to diferent and they dared to touch and manoveur and god gave me.It´s for life and i will never go over the barricade like my parents did.
    Also does the food need to get out of the esophagus and how is it donne?i don´t think i need that stomach will do just fine thanks.or perhaps not.
    Are the Agencies focusing on getting insiders inside the villages? Remember Talibans are regaining control because they move faster across the mountains like using bikes and also because they are infiltrating the villages.
    Stop that and wait fot the winter.
    Siege and wait for air-force afghnistan is not for big movements.
    Remember history the only ones that defeated those tribes were the mongols not even the brits.
    Yes raise a greater afghan army.
    Also i Love diferent girls with a taste for something diferent and that are not affraid to take the first step.I admire initiative it shows strenght and character.But i´m too ugly it´s like the story of the little duck qua qua.
    Also about Money career or jobs any news?
    I´m getting old i even had to quite the martial arts for quite some time.
    Also know that i hate the attitude of trying to get the best of me.I dopn´t believe in competition in that way but in team effort,
    Speaking about sex have u noticed how the rituals of matting change according to each culture?wich culture is mine perhaps thsame has yours if conditioning is possible or perhaps just because a matter of taste and dedication and love not because of some conditioning.Free will
    Take to whom u know the tips that are important or u even forgot that.
    Don´t forget to tip the portuguese i´ll be waiting.
    By the way is internet safe?you ….
    And don´t forget that i want my balls back and the guys off my arse.
    Next time i´ll be more polite i promise

    LUV to all the crew
    the rose or desert fox

    September 22, 2009 at 6:35 pm | Reply
  5. erwin or irvin

    Also i don´t need a tip and i need is the world to remember the experiment donne on me with illegal substances and argylle medications etc i don´t know that led me to a permanent state of physical addiction for the need of absorbing water and avoidind the four brain waves and the electrical head.
    LUV to all the crew


    September 22, 2009 at 6:54 pm | Reply
  6. Lou

    The question I'd like answered is why doesnt the US government buy all the opium the country can produce? But hang on think of all those vested interests in the perpetuation of crime and mates of Dick Cheney who'd lose packets. Ah, now we are getting to the bottom of it, it's got nothing to do with sercurity, it is all about pay back for the contributions to the Bush re-election campaign doesn't it?

    September 23, 2009 at 5:41 am | Reply
  7. Avery Smith

    There isn't a need for more Troops in Afghanistan. In fact we need to focus on the issues in our own country. I think a full withdrawl is needed. The coalition in Afghanistan isn't realistic it will probably end like the vienam war.

    September 23, 2009 at 3:30 pm | Reply
  8. erwin or irvin

    Hi there,

    About me u know all but did u know that i was born blonde(baby) after becamme redish(around 2 years of age)after dark brown and now grey?Curious isn´t it its like the skin it becamme much darker since i moved into portugal its the Sun it burns a lot .whoever likes Sun likes this place.
    When i moved from afrika i have my first memorie a nurse removing blood from my arm.By that time my tonsils had swallow so much that i couldn´t breathe and by some reason i was stoping to walk and move my arms.
    That doctor smashed my nose my jaw and even removed tissue-what a doctor, of course he removed the tonsils but did something very nice.now it looks like my tongue is loose.
    In the end i think that has long has i have peace of mind stay with my immaginary friends everything will be allright..
    Just imagine what i could do for u if i was working there it the team.extra-motivation and the more ideas that are still to comme.the future never stops.
    but we all have other means of getting thru.
    i picked randomly i don´t want to mess your career or life.

    Yours faithfully,


    September 23, 2009 at 8:26 pm | Reply
  9. billy blane

    im just wondering when your going to report the real truth.?is it not a joke at this point? THE WAR ON TERROR! i just dont unde3rstand why ""REPORTERS""dont report the truth. the american people do not want this war! i was under the idea that reporters reported the truth, not a myth that enabled this farse of a situation. the editing practices of the news is a shame.....why not write fiction novels if you want to look away?

    October 4, 2009 at 12:11 pm | Reply

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