US Afghanistan policy not working: French general

1st July 2010, Comments 0 comments

The American strategy in Afghanistan is "not working," a senior French general said in comments published Thursday, saying the situation there was at an all-time low.

Vincent Desportes, head of France's elite Interforces Defence College, told Le Monde newspaper that the strategy employed by former US war commander in Afghanistan, US general Stanley McChrystal, had failed to produce results.

"The situation is worse than ever," he said.

"The traditional counter-insurgency doctrine, as employed by McChrystal for a year, with restrained use of firepower, air and artillery attacks to reduce collateral damage, does not seem to be working.

"If the McChrystal doctrine is not working or is not accepted, it would be good to review the strategy," argued the French general, calling for the pullout of US troops to be deferred past the planned date of July 2011.

McChrystal was swiftly relieved of his command in Kabul last week after he and his aides showed disdain for administration officials -- and President Barack Obama -- in a magazine profile.

McChrystal's strategy entailed pouring tens of thousands of extra troops into Afghanistan to win over civilians and train local forces.

He won early praise for a drop in civilian casualties, for reaching out to Afghans and for working overtime to bring President Hamid Karzai on board.

Desportes also criticised Obama's decision, announced in December, to send some 30,000 extra troops to Afghanistan.

"Everyone knows it has to be either zero or 100,000 soldiers," he said, adding: "One does not fight half wars."

With more than 100 foreign troops dead, June was the deadliest month since the war in Afghanistan began in the wake of the attacks of September 11, 2001 in the United States.

© 2010 AFP

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