Fallout from mistaken claim about drop in Taliban attacks
Meaning for Afghan withdrawal plan?
- Duration 3:54
- Date Feb 27, 2013
Meaning for Afghan withdrawal plan?
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There's new fallout today after reports of some skewed numbers on Taliban attacks coming out of Afghanistan.
The American led military coalition in that country is now backing off from its claim that -- attacks dropped pin number last year.
What does it mean for our overall withdrawal plans joining us now Michael O'Hanlon.
Senior fellow foreign policy studies at the Brookings Institution.
So essentially the Pentagon.
Counted in the attacks that had had taken place against you know anti Taliban forces.
And found them down about 7% but then somebody said oh wait a minute we forgot to count -- -- on Afghan led units.
Does things a little surprised.
Yeah it's clearly a mistake should not have made on the other hand I'm sure wasn't intentional and also by the way number attacks against Afghan units was a lot more than 7% of the total.
The good news in 2012 the war hasn't gone away the fighting hasn't gone away the war is not ending even if our role is declining.
The Afghan security forces are doing more and more of the fighting.
And in fact the number attacks against them.
The number of fatalities they suffered last year was three or four times as many as coalition fatalities may be more than that may be more like five or six times as many.
So even as we downsized.
Even as we pulled a third of our forces out primarily during the fighting season.
The -- did not get worse at least the violence did not get worse in the Afghan security forces did more -- more the fighting and I can say this is good news.
But in the context of the overall transition to an Afghan led effort it could have been a lot worse social.
-- -- say that this is an administration or pentagon fudging the numbers to make it look alike you know the surge has worked -- were ready to bring our troops home.
-- you don't think that's the case.
I don't for one thing if you're gonna try to argue that there have been some big progress you would want wrist shot more than 7% improvement I mean this was still 20102011.
Is the big years of our effort 2012 if you were really going to see huge progress -- wanted to show more than 7% people are trying to cook the books they would have wanted to say -- was a 50% reduction for example.
And I think also we've been very honest in acknowledging that.
-- Afghans are leaning more and more of the effort they've got a long ways to go their air force is still and that's.
They still can't really resupply their forces very well in combat -- needed us to do that.
And this has been very openly acknowledged by the administration by general Allen he was in command now general -- for so no I don't see anybody cooking the books they want to point to positive -- there's no doubt.
Here and there are some.
But you know again if there is good news in this and I'll say there's a lot.
The war did not get worse in 2012.
Even though we handed off more more than fighting to the Afghans but there is bad -- -- -- -- is a resilient enemy and it's gonna be there for awhile.
You know obviously I've I have a personal stake in this I have a son who is deploying to Afghanistan and scheduled to go in August be one of the last units in there.
Before American forces pull out completely and and the question is you know have we accomplished what we set out to do there when we invaded that country after the 9/11 -- You know I think get honesty -- hasn't gone as well as we -- -- -- very few people even myself and other people who believe the war has been worth that a necessary.
Most of us wouldn't say it's got as well as we hoped especially going back to the McChrystal Petraeus review of early 29.
Under President Obama on the other hand you have an Afghan security force 350000.
Strong most of those units now frightened.
Reasonably well and they're not.
Fighting against each other along ethnic lines there is not the kind of sectarian conflict we saw on Iraq where you've got Taj leaks against pashtuns.
And so they're on track for a presidential election next year and President Karzai says he's got to respect the constitution and step down.
There are a number of number of hopeful indicators you're going with the glass half full scenario at least 52%.
-- -- Michael O'Hanlon from -- Brookings Institution thank you my collection.