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article imageUS general insists that US should not withdraw from Afghanistan

By Ken Hanly     May 9, 2019 in Politics
At the US Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee yesterday Gen. Joe Dunford insisted that he thought that no one wanted more to withdraw US forces from Afghanistan than himself. He then argued against withdrawing US forces from Afghanistan.
Dunford's statement
General Dunford's exact testimony was as follows: “I don’t think anybody would want to withdraw our forces from Afghanistan or the broader Middle East more than me,” Dunford told Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) during a Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee hearing. “But I will share with you the advice that I’ve provided now to two presidents ... It’s my judgment today based on the threat from South Asia, that we need to continue to put pressure on those terrorist groups or they’ll pose a threat to the United States.“
"I know it’s frustrating to you and the American people for us to be there for such a long period of time," he continued. "It’s just my judgment right now that the conditions for a complete withdrawal aren’t there.”
Dunford claimed there were still 20 extremist groups in Afghanistan. He said that the US should stay in Afghanistan indefinitely.
The situation in Afghanistan
After waging war against the Taliban and occupying Afghanistan for 18 years, the situation on the ground is getting worse than ever. However, there have been peace talks with the Taliban and there is always the possibility that the US could negotiate some type of settlement that would see the US troops withdraw within a measurable period of time. The Taliban will not negotiate with the Afghan government as it sees it as a puppet of the US. The peace talks were postponed last month after a row about delegations to the talks.
The Taliban are gaining ground in Afghanistan. A recent Pentagon assessment puts the Afghan government in control of barely half of the country. The situation is worsening quickly. The Pentagon response is to stop confirming territorial holdings any longer.
The Dunford strategy to hold out until the US wins is unlikely ever to be successful but it could very well derail any further negotiations with the Taliban. Most Afghans have no doubt lost their appetite for the war but it seems the US military will soldier on even though Dunford too claims he would like to get out.
The appended video from February 2013 has the outgoing commander expressing optimism that the US will win as he hands over command to General Dunford.
More about Gen Joe Dunford, US in Afghanistan, afghan peace talks
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