Emanuel: Must Have an Afghan Partner Before Sending Troops
By John Amick
Before President Obama makes a decision about sending any additional troops to Afghanistan, there must be a careful assessment of the strength and viability of the Afghan government, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said Sunday.
"It would be reckless to make a decision on U.S. troop level if, in fact, you haven't done a thorough analysis of whether, in fact, there's an Afghan partner ready to fill that space that the U.S. troops would create and become a true partner in governing the Afghan country," Emanuel said in an interview with CNN's "State of the Union."
Emanuel criticized the culture in Washington that immediately ramps up calls for a more hawkish policy in Afghanistan when the war has been going on for eight years and the urgency to contain extremism and corruption in Afghanistan was ignored for efforts in Iraq.
"We would love the luxury of this debate to be reduced down to just one question, additional troops, 40,000," Emanuel said. "This is a much more complex decision. Even the general's (Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal's) own report and (CENTCOM commander) General (David) Petraeus' own analysis says the question, the real partner here is not how much troops you have, but whether in fact there's an Afghan partner."
Echoing sentiments expressed by Senate Foreign Relations chair John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) in interviews Sunday, Emanuel insisted that it would irresponsible to reflexively add more troops without a clear-minded assessment of the ramifications and whether an Afghan government is ready to match the commitment.
Posted at 10:45 AM ET on Oct 18, 2009
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