Lt General Nick Parker: Troop Withdrawal Will Not Be Significant
Lt General Nick Parker, speaking in Kabul, said the withdrawal will be unlikely to involve more than a few thousand troops.
“It is entirely reasonable for there to be some draw down of some sort although I suggest it is not a significant as some people choose to make it out to be,”
His statement seems to be in contradiction to the impression left by US President Obama, who is worried about the possibility of losing the Democrat Party and Code Pink by not initiating troop withdrawals and bringing the war to an end, according to reviews of Bob Woodward’s new book, The Obama Wars.
General Parker reiterated that troop reductions will only take place if the Afghan army is at the right numbers and capability to start filling in for the 138,000 Nato troopers on the front line.
Lt Gen Park, the deputy to overall commander of Nato troops, Gen David Petraeus, said that the figure of 2,000 troops going home, which has been suggested by some US politicians, was one that would not have any “strategic significance” on the total force.
“I know the military advice will be as few as possible because military men always want to keep their options open,” he said.
He added it was “entirely reasonable” for politicians to set a deadline of 2015 for British withdrawals as they would not want the Afghans to see them as an “occupying regime”.
While significant steps were being made in bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table special forces commandos were giving insurgent commanders a “pretty serious kicking at the moment”.
He suggested that “our kinetic action”, Taliban war-weariness and locals turning to the government were helping the reconciliation effort with insurgents.
Lt Gen Parker, whose son suffered a double amputation while serving in Helmand, suggested that military commanders were a “little bit over enthusiastic” in declaring the success of Operation Moshtarak, the biggest air assault since Vietnam launched last February.
Unfortunately, they raised raised expectations that there would be “peace in our time” when a force of 12,000 hit Taliban strongholds in central Helmand but that had “not been the case”.
He stressed the security operation had done “what we said it would do” but the American held Marjah area was proving to be a tough area to subdue.
He stressed that American troops fighting the Taliban in a major operation in Kandahar, overseen by British officer, Major Gen Nick Carter, were facing fierce fighting,”The enemy stronghold there is certainly as strong as we thought and possibly a little bit more. There are serious military challenges.” He feels that there is no “tipping point”, but that the fight will be a long drawn out struggle to achieve victory.
In the mean time, Karzai is drawing the Taliban into his government while they are engaged in a campaign of bombing, mayhem, and terror.