Not enough American troops to make a difference in Afghanistan: Mullen

January 29th, 2009 - 7:03 pm ICT by ANI  


Washington, Jan.29 (ANI): The Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mullen, has categorically said that there arent enough American troops to make a difference to the allied offensive against the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.
“I don”t have enough troops in the United States military to make the difference that needs to be made” in Afghanistan. Afghans have got to lead this. It has got to have an Afghan face,” he told Washington-based columnist David Ignatius. According to Ignatius, of all the problems confronting the Obama administration, none is trickier than Pakistan a nuclear power that has a war in Afghanistan on its western border, a tense confrontation with India on its eastern border and a deadly insurgency at home from Muslim militants who want to topple the pro-American government.
He says that at the crux of all three conflicts are the Pakistani army and the ISI.
In his interaction with Admiral Mullen, the gravity of the situation that prevails in Pakistan and Afghanistan comes out clearly, claims Ignatius.
“I”ve tried … really hard to understand Pakistan over the last year-plus, and it’’s much more opaque than it is transparent,” Mullen says, adding that both Pakistans Chief of Army Staff, General Asfaq Parvez Kiyani, and ISI Director General, Lt. Gen. Pasha “have committed very specifically to change the culture in ISI.
They recognize that they”ve got to get out of where they”ve been, which is in support of these … militants, to try to make deals, and that they”ve got to move beyond that. But that’’s not going to happen overnight,” Admiral Mullen adds.
The U.S. commander said he measures Kiyani by his actions.
Mullen noted, for example, that Kiyani has ordered Pakistani troops to combat Taliban insurgents in the western frontier region of Bajaur, where they had been reluctant to fight before. Kiyani also has doubled the pay of the Frontier Corps, the constabulary force that operates along the Afghanistan border. And he has picked a charismatic Pashtun officer as the new commander for the Frontier Corps.
“All of those things … are very positive. And the Frontier Corps has had what I would argue is incredible success in a very short period of time,” Admiral Mullen adds.
“In my ideal world,” said Mullen, India and Pakistan would work together to fight terrorists and “figure out a way to solve Kashmir,” a Himalayan region claimed by both countries.
But Kashmir, he cautioned, would be “a pretty big bite in the apple right now.”
Mullen said he wouldn”t discuss Afghanistan in detail until President Barack Obama has made decisions about strategy there. (ANI)

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