Afghanistan — Petraeus Calls Unity of Purpose, Effort Crucial

WASHINGTON, July 1, 2010 — Uni­ty of pur­pose in Afghanistan is essen­tial to win­ning the coun­terin­sur­gency fight in the coun­try, the new com­man­der of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan said today.

Dur­ing a news con­fer­ence at NATO head­quar­ters in Brus­sels, Bel­gium, Army Gen. David H. Petraeus and NATO Sec­re­tary Gen­er­al Anders Fogh Ras­mussen both called for increased coop­er­a­tion. It was Petraeus’s first appear­ance since the Sen­ate con­firmed him for his new job yesterday. 

The gen­er­al briefed the alliance’s North Atlantic Coun­cil and allied nations with troops on the ground in Afghanistan. Dur­ing the meet­ing, Petraeus received three clear mes­sages from the 46 Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force part­ners, Ras­mussen said. “First, the gen­er­al has our full sup­port,” the sec­re­tary gen­er­al said. Sec­ond, the ISAF nations are unit­ed in sup­port­ing the strat­e­gy in Afghanistan. “This has been a change of com­mand, but not a change of strat­e­gy,” the sec­re­tary gen­er­al said. 

Final­ly, the mis­sion itself has the nation’s and alliance’s full sup­port, Ras­mussen said. 

“Allies and part­ners will stay com­mit­ted as long as it takes to fin­ish the job,” he said. “Obvi­ous­ly, that does not mean for­ev­er. Our mis­sion will end when Afghans are capa­ble to secure and gov­ern the coun­try themselves.” 

Petraeus stressed the impor­tance of the civ­il-mil­i­tary part­ner­ship in Afghanistan as part of the com­pre­hen­sive approach to oper­a­tions in the country. 

“We must all work togeth­er,” he said. This includes with­in the U.S. gov­ern­ment agen­cies, with­in the NATO alliance, with­in the greater coali­tion, and espe­cial­ly with the Afghan government. 

“We must achieve uni­ty of effort in what is clear­ly an effort to achieve mutu­al objec­tives,” he con­tin­ued. Nations have mutu­al objec­tives, the gen­er­al not­ed, because Afghanistan was the breed­ing ground for ter­ror­ist attacks that have killed thou­sands in the Unit­ed States, Great Britain, Indone­sia, Madrid and oth­er places. 

Petraeus thanked the North Atlantic Coun­cil for its support. 

“It was very heart­en­ing to hear the sup­port that was voiced there,” he said, “even as we know the very dif­fi­cult times that we have seen in Afghanistan, where there has with­out ques­tion been tough fight­ing and where there have been tough casu­al­ties, although where there have also been areas of progress in recent weeks, in recent months, and where we are deter­mined to achieve fur­ther progress in the course of the months ahead.” 

Petraeus said he ful­ly favors the strat­e­gy of pro­tect­ing the Afghan pop­u­la­tion and less­en­ing the num­ber of casu­al­ties of inno­cent civil­ians. “We must main­tain the com­mit­ment to reduc­ing the loss of inno­cent civil­ian life, in the course of mil­i­tary oper­a­tions, to an absolute min­i­mum,” he said. 

He will not revise the rules of engage­ment that delin­eate the use of force and the use of close-air sup­port, he said, but he will ensure that tac­ti­cal com­man­ders apply the rules correctly. 

“There are con­cerns among the ranks of some of our troop­ers on the ground that some of the process­es have become a bit too bureau­crat­ic,” he said, adding that he has “a moral imper­a­tive as a com­man­der” to use all the force nec­es­sary to pro­tect coali­tion and Afghan forces. He said he has dis­cussed this with Afghan Pres­i­dent Hamid Karzai, Defense Min­is­ter Abdul War­dak and Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter Bish­mul­lah Khan. 

“They absolute­ly sup­port the intent that I explained to them,” he said, “which was, on the one hand, to main­tain the focus on the reduc­tion of loss of inno­cent civil­ian life in the course of mil­i­tary oper­a­tions and also to ensure that our troop­ers and our means now, Afghan as ISAF, are sup­port­ed by all means when they are in a tough position.” 

The gen­er­al said that while the Tal­iban have lost the ini­tia­tive in cer­tain areas of the coun­try, this means the fight­ing will get tougher, not easier. 

“When you take away the enemy’s … safe havens, the ene­my fights back,” he said. “You may recall that in Iraq, the high­est lev­els of vio­lence ever record­ed in Iraq were months into the surge. They were very, very high at the begin­ning of the surge, but they actu­al­ly went up – vastly.” 

The same has been true in Afghanistan, where the Amer­i­can surge is ahead of sched­ule, and the lev­els of vio­lence are high­er, Petraeus not­ed. “When we take away what the ene­my val­ues, the ene­my fights back,” he said. 

Source:
U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

Team GlobDef

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist GlobalDefence.net im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. GlobalDefenc.net war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →