Will sacking Gen. McChrystal help overcome Afghan militancy?

08:16, June 28, 2010      

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The United States President Barack Obama in a surprise move replaced his top gun in Afghanistan General Stanley McChrystal with General David Petraeus to win the lingering war against Taliban and al-Qaida network.

His removal took place amid spiraling militancy in Afghanistan and increasingly turning public opinion against war in the United States and allied nations supporting war on terror.

Support for war in the U.S. has sharply dropped down and many Americans, according to media reports, have regarded the nine-year war in Afghanistan as useless, urging for troop withdrawal.

Only 41 percent of Americans, according to media reports, support the war and believe that the war can be won in the militancy-plagued Afghanistan.

The four-star general McChrystal who was appointed as commander of the NATO mission in Afghanistan in May 2009 to implement President Obama's strategy and win the war had stepped down Tuesday in the wake of reported mocking of officials in Washington.

He has gone but left behind the mission undone.

Still Taliban militants are at large, roaming across the country and hunting NATO and Afghan soldiers.

More than 300 NATO soldiers with majority of them Americans have been killed in Taliban-linked activities so far this year in Afghanistan.

Only in June more than 80 NATO service members have lost their lives in Taliban-related activities.

As part of strategy to win the hearts and minds of Afghans, the war veteran McChrystal had largely focused on protecting civilians during military operation and had brought down civilian casualties to 44 percent, a step has been largely welcomed but failed to curb militancy even in their birthplace Kandahar.

Although, he vowed to storm Taliban in their hotbed Kandahar but the much-awaited and much-propagated operation has been postponed twice since April and thus created doubts at the eyes of Afghans.

Many Afghans have already lost their trust in NATO's ability to check militancy through replacing leadership in war.

"Several commanders have been replaced over the past nine years but none was able to even ensure security for Kandahar province," a resident of Kandahar Abdul Manan Khan said.

"Except district headquarters in Kandahar, all the villages are at the hands of Taliban," Manan said.

He also said that Taliban fighters through intimidation and providing rapid justice to feuding sides have earned popularity and rule the vast rural areas.

The former NATO mission commander general McChrystal who earned good reputation in Iraq in a bid to win the war in Afghanistan and more admiration at home had requested for 30,000 troops and White House approved it, bringing the strength of NATO-led troops to some 150,000 by August.

Apparently tired of endemic cat and mouse war in Afghanistan, McChrystal resigned in a critical juncture as several nations within NATO have decided to pull out forces from Afghanistan and the decision doubtlessly to bolster Taliban morale.

Canada has already announced pulling out its troops in 2011.

Following the step, the Netherlands would not extend its mission in Afghanistan beyond 2010.

Acting polish president and presidential candidate Bronislaw Komorowski said last week that Poland would withdraw its forces from Afghanistan in 2012.

Taliban militants in a statement sent to media on Thursday, according to media reports, described the change in war leadership as attempt by U.S. to hide its defeat, saying replacement commanders would make "no difference" and Taliban would continue Jihad (holy war) till the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan.

Owing to the complexity of war in Afghanistan and inflexibility of hardliner Taliban, several more commanders would come and go but the instability would continue for the years to come, many Afghans believe.

Source: Xinhua


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