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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.

By editors  |  October 18, 2009; 10:45 AM ET
Categories:  National Security  | Tags: afghanistan, rahm emanuel  
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The more troops debate seems desparately lacking some key details - such as, If the general gets the 40,00 troops he wants now, will that be enough to wrap things up by the end of 2013 and start bringing troops home? The United States needs an exit strategy and a exit deadline to inspire our weak and corrupt Afghan government partner. Karzai is probably pumping our cash into his Swiss bank account at a phenominal rate and will be content to build toward a billionaire status for the next twenty years if we humor the despicable little man.

Posted by: ColdLightning | October 21, 2009 8:09 AM | Report abuse

Once again, a Diversion by this hesitant Administration. Sending more Troops there now is more to help support our fellow Troops already in-place. The Afghan Gov't was never a reliable partner before we even went there. We have to pay Tribal Leaders now to help save their country from the Taliban, and every-day is a new sequel to "Deal or no Deal". Let's not pretend that this is the reason for the Obama group to delay sending more Troops, this is only an excuse.
Case-in-point,...we just gave 7.5 Billion dollars to Pakistan, a totally unreliable "friend", who is Harboring Osama Bin Laden, yet that is okay for Obama, but helping our Fellow Americans committed in Battle in Afghanistan,he has to "think about it"?? Come-on America....Wake-Up!!

Posted by: wetheepeople | October 19, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

War is so utterly useless... but no one has ever solved this problem of war-including the anti-war protesters in the Vietnam War era. I think they sit back and think they did, and are lazy now, and think it's another generation's war (whose I don't know). The biggest problem of withdrawing from this war is that so much damage has already been done. And when peace agreements or treaties are signed, there might be people who claim they no longer Talibanized, and they could become a power player in Afghanistan , or , more crucially, in Pakistan military or political leadership. But they'll be bitter against the US for the all the destruction and ruin of the wars. Don't believe that it is simple to infiltrate the nuclear arsenal of Pakistan. Sometimes, the U.S. leaders and opinion makers act like these nuclear weapons are stored in an outhouse and Al-Queda could strap them on their backs and launch them with a remote control device. The real danger lies ahead when the young civilians and the "ex" -Taliban become integrated into Pakistan society, and, maybe, become part of the legitimate power structure. That's when things will become really dangerous concerning nuclear weapons in Pakistan.

Posted by: ncoleman32 | October 18, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Obama is stalling regarding the troop issue. Now is the time to ramp up especially since the Pakistani army is in the tribal regions. The posturing the Dems are doing means they are looing for a reason to get out to calm their radical base. Defeating radical Islam should be a national priority and the decison should not be made on the basis of focus group polling.

Posted by: saelij | October 18, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Makes sense to me!!

Posted by: Thependulumswings | October 18, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

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