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“Leadership should define what success in Afghanistan will look like”

The leadership says that in 18 months we’ll see if there’s any possibility of success in the region, but they have to define what success will look like, says Jake Diliberto from Veterans for Rethinking Afghanistan.

The top US commander in Afghanistan says the troop surge will help push back the Taliban, but General McChrystal has warned Congress that the mission will be extremely difficult.

Meanwhile, in a surprise visit to Kabul, Defense Secretary Robert Gates reiterated that the US is there to win. 1,500 American soldiers will be sent there by the end of the month – the first of a 30,000-strong troop surge announced by President Barack Obama last week.

At the same time, Washington hopes to begin withdrawing troops from Afghanistan within 18 months.

“They have not accurately told what exactly is needed for Afghanistan,” Diliberto said. “At eight years we’ve only been able to create a security force of 40,000 troops. I don’t think that in other 18 months we are going to be doing anything substantial to help these people on the ground.”

He believes that success in Afghanistan would look something like a reestablished Afghan tribal system, not a central Kabul government, coupled with international aid to support the Afghan people.