November 30th, 2009
12:35 PM ET

Troops alone can't win Afghan war

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/03/12/afghanistan.kabul.security/art.kabulpolice.afp.gi.jpg caption="Afghan security forces patrol the streets of Kabul."]

Frances Townsend
CNN Contributor

How can we best meet our national security objectives in Afghanistan?

In Gen. Stanley McChrystal's assessment, Afghanistan requires an "integrated civilian-military counterinsurgency campaign." The general put the request for civilians ahead of military because it is the most difficult to provide.

It is there first because what civilian capacity the U.S. government has at hand is weak, insufficient to the task and not deployable in the way required in Afghanistan.

Al Qaeda and its allies in Afghanistan understand our need for civilian support, which explains why they attacked and killed six U.N. workers in Kabul in October. As a result, the U.N. pulled out 600 of its 1,100 staff. The U.N. withdrawal is a win for our enemies and will serve to further embolden and encourage them.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • al Qaeda • Military
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Angelique Sims

    In my opinion, I don't think that soldiers alone can win this war. There have already been over 5,000 of our troops killed, that is so sad. So it really does'nt matter how many more troops we send, ten times more will just get killed.

    November 30, 2009 at 12:43 pm |
  2. Tim Gibson

    Yet, the fact remains, we cannot fund this war much longer. Promise does not come without a price tag and just because we print it does not mean we should.

    November 30, 2009 at 11:39 am |