American ambitions in Afghanistan ‘not worth it’: US think tank

August 2nd, 2010 - 2:01 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Aug 2(ANI): Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass insists that the United States should scale down its ambitions in Afghanistan, saying that that they are not “worth it”.

“I don’t think Afghanistan warrants the scale of investment the United States is making. The C.I.A. Director Leon Panetta as you know, Harry, estimates there’s only 50 to 100 Al-Qaeda people left in the country. So, the scale of what we’re doing is way too much,” CBS News quoted Haass, as saying.

“Also, I don’t really think it’s going to work, to try to do a nation-building or state-building effort in a place like Afghanistan, which has no tradition of a strong central government, which is divided along sorts of ethnic and tribal and geographic lines. Also, you’ve got a sanctuary in neighbouring Pakistan. I simply don’t think the sort of strategy we’re doing can succeed,” he added.

Haass further said that he would not suggest withdrawing the troops, but would like a better counter-terrorism strategy like the one being carried out in Somalia and Yemen

“I think the United States ought to scale back dramatically to do something much more along the lines of counterterrorism, more akin to the sort of limited actions we’re doing in places like Somalia and Yemen where we use drones, we use cruise missiles, we use covert operatives, we use special forces to go after the terrorists. But we do not try to remake a society,” he added.

His comments come after U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates said that the US-led force was making headway in the war on terror, and a major troop withdrawal was not on the horizon.

“I think we need to re-emphasise the message that we are not leaving Afghanistan in July of 2011,” Gates said.

“My personal opinion is that drawdowns early on will be of fairly limited numbers, and as we are successful, we’ll probably accelerate,” he added. (ANI)

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