Afghan Troop Withdrawal: Too Much, Too Soon?
A look at the possible impact of Obama's speech and plan to remove surge troops by the end of summer 2012
- Duration 10:08
- Date Jun 22, 2011
A look at the possible impact of Obama's speech and plan to remove surge troops by the end of summer 2012
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This transcript is automatically generated
The -- -- in Afghanistan is beginning US troops are coming home here's the president.
As a result starting next month we will be able to remove 101000.
Of our troops from Afghanistan by the end of this year.
And we will bring home a total of 33000.
Troops by next summer.
Fully recovering the -- I announced at West Point.
After this initial reduction our troops will continue coming home at a steady pace as Afghan security forces move in -- lead.
Our mission will change from combat to support.
Like Tony fourteenth.
This process of transition will be complete.
In the Afghan people will be responsible for their own security.
But not all the president generals agree on the strategy join us for -- Sebastien.
He would jump on Canadian ambassador and are ready and get in whole flurry of public statements being issued chairman Rogers of the house Intel committee says it's a wrong move governor Romney is taking the Prez not for the White House says he that's an arbitrary timetable suggesting it might be based on politics economy.
-- and then out loud about it we.
We wouldn't even be here today had it not been for the president himself setting this arbitrary eighteen month.
Time frame when he announced the surge in December of 2009 that eighteen months.
For no connection to facts on the ground in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
I think it was very.
Significantly tied to -- to this summer right before the primary season in the presidential election.
And I think the way he's handled.
The timing of the withdrawal of the extra surge forces has a lot to do with politics -- he needs to appease the left wing of his own party which he's done.
But he needs to avoid a debacle on the battlefield before November 2012.
So he's pushed the withdrawal of all 33000.
Off until very close to that point.
This is not a military decision this is a political.
And so does that suggest it if this military commanders say this a great idea this is a way to do it then.
That's a smart thing to -- I guess I'm -- curious to us commanders say.
Well I'm sure the way these decision memos were written was very careful so he could say he was within the zone of recommendations they made but let's remember 33000.
Wasn't the recommendation for the surge they made in 2009.
This -- been politicized right from the get go.
And and I think it it in this speech tonight lost one point that Obama really brought to the table when he came into office and that's the relationship between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
One very brief mention of the privileged sanctuaries al-Qaeda and Taliban -- in Pakistan but not enough realization that is our troops come out.
Taliban and al-Qaeda -- simply have to wait waiter come across that border and retake the ground they've lost.
Would you agree if this works.
I mean if this turns out that we can draw down these troops and that there is order and not chaos of the Taliban doesn't move in that doesn't become a greater fertile ground for another.
Ground breeding ground for the for the outcome -- for al-Qaeda.
Then it was smart.
Well sure if it works ultimately and Afghanistan does not again become a base for international terrorism and Pakistan isn't the stabilized and it's.
Arsenal nuclear weapons doesn't fall into the hands of radicals.
That'd be fine.
But this is a huge risk.
Of American security and the signal it sends of -- a president who desperately wants to turn away from the world.
I think is very frightening I think the key line in this speech tonight was it's time to do nation building at home.
He doesn't want to be involved overseas he doesn't see the threats he doesn't think they're challenging that is risky.
I can't what I thought was the isn't all and Afghanistan and when I went there what struck me.
Is how many have private contract government contractors were there.
And we always talk about draw down we're talking about bringing our military home the place is.
With the government contracts of -- and those people won't.
Are those people may got a ton of money -- what about those feeling like I think those guys are staying and I think but I think that's significant part -- The problem I think for those legislators who want to cut the cost of our engagement in Afghanistan.
I would reduce the economic assistance 320 million a month -- tea as an alumnus of the Agency for International Development.
A country like Afghanistan doesn't have the absorb the capacity for that much aid is we are facilitating corruption we could cut it way back with no loss of effectiveness.
Is it is it possible that we bring our military troops home and that we -- have more government contractor to keep the ones we have so that costs us more mean.
It is say in this app for some reason I think it's service it's like a big -- we talk what the troops there but we don't talk about the government contractors and the number that are there.
I I think the cost will come down but on I think we're we're drawing down the the the actors who were effective and leaving in the ones who are not being particularly helpful in my -- -- pay for them and we're paying for them but but I wanna say I think the big missing element in this speech was talking about -- on as they say one mention of the sanctuaries that to me is critical.
And not dealing with the difficulties we've had in Pakistan on and the increasing threat of radical -- While there I suppose this is increases of course our efforts must also address terrorist safe payments impacts and we have such a fragile relationship right now because -- -- they've doubled the double dealers.
We like in some ways to want to keep our and our enemies stable.
We don't want them to fall apart and -- so I guess that that's a rather fragile situation.
The trouble is in Pakistan the situation is deteriorating the army itself has a rising.
The number of radical islamists as the civilian government is extraordinarily week we've we've got really longer term more problems with Pakistani and we do and Afghanistan and.
That's a thank you -- Tyson retired US army major general Bob skills good evening I wrote okay Adam good generals that agree with the president or not.
Let me set the military.
Facts on the ground -- Remember the surge was intended to do two things.
To establish stability in the south Kandahar mainly in Kandahar in -- want Brian got your -- -- -- -- parents out exodus out right here right and then to focus on the northeastern provinces that trying to appear accused witches -- -- -- it -- -- really the critical area they didn't have the troops to do both.
So they decided to focus the surge troops in without -- have been very successful -- and the thought is in 2012.
They would shift.
The search forces up to the northeast achieve stability there and then 2014.
Allow the Afghans to take over now what's happened it seems to me and most.
Most of my friends of the military tell me is that -- short.
With this draw down we're short in both time and resources to be successful in northeast for two reasons number one -- have they draw down 30000 draw down.
And in 2012 and most importantly you truncate the campaign season -- 2012.
So there's a thought that there's great risk in being able to maintain success in the south and achieved initial success in the north.
Okay I so let's just let's is assumed this short -- this Adonis -- that saw panel let's find time to do the drug up so the question here is whether the drug data anyway is going to.
And create a bigger problem here solve the problem -- -- -- -- can take over or not yes this.
Who's here is is that Taliban and -- they -- mean are they on the run to the ambassador's point -- for most of them frankly across the border in Pakistan and packets I didn't like -- -- get it when we leave they'll likely to come back.
What they did in 1989 it's all in all probability -- what they'll do if we create a vacuum in the northeast if we leave a vacuum there.
And we don't put enough boots on the ground there in the Afghan army is not capable of taking over the northeast.
That is the highest area of risk in this war are if what if we take out the -- if -- take up the troops according to the president's plan through the generals -- is -- -- -- she spoke to do they worry that we're now lining up boots on the ground.
And that Afghanistan will be ready to have the security force themselves to -- is there worried.
Both while it's worried the word in the military phrase operative phrase is risk.
You don't know how risky that's -- the risk goes up ascent taught a play -- you reduce your resources member to win a war he had two very it was you can influence resources and time.
And what's happened is this decision has as truncated the number of people and it's a limited amount of time we have to choose.
I asked what do the generals think about when I used the word hello Rick -- with the government of the administration the disease.
Preliminary discuss -- our discussion with the Taliban.
Can the Taliban and Taliban who is just brutal and horrible -- do women images David I I -- -- attended the stories.
How can they be -- It's an old story you always negotiate from a position of strength.
If the column -- believe that will be out there are 2014 of -- forces will be down to 25000.
That gives him no incentive to negotiate.
It in inner spirit of compromise.
Surprising isn't Green at the negotiation.
Concept is a little peculiar because it's part of their ideology of course it did its part the idea ideology that women judge should be hidden and Burke hasn't gotten should be brutalize that they -- that that they don't get education -- medical -- That's not like something that's -- used that spread there ideology can we negotiate.
So meant to be decent -- -- -- The Talabani will tell you that we've been they've been at this for -- 300 years we've been had it for ten years that.
You know that we will tire -- -- go home and they have been an enormous amount of patience and so anything we say.
That limits the amount of time we have for the amount of troops we have -- -- -- -- resources we have.
Frankly plays to strengths of the Taliban.
The generals watching this finish it wouldn't think.
Al zawahiri the number two and al-Qaeda -- he's thinking about -- an immediate next.
-- look if we get it in the time line.
Rebuild al-Qaeda establish relationships with the -- Arkady network.
Agenda -- -- was -- horrible and want them re establish -- relationships with a with a with a Pakistan is and when we're gone.
Fill the void just as -- -- -- the Soviets in 1989 that is the great risk of this.
The risk okay thank you general thing you say and I -- campaign.