US General Says Failure is Possible Without New Troops in Afghanistan

Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. and NATO military commander in Afghanistan is warning that the mission "will likely result in failure" if more troops are not sent within the next year.

The New York Times and The Washington Post published portions of a confidential assessment made by General Stanley McChrystal on their Web sites Monday. The general wrote that inadequate resources will risk a longer, more-costly conflict that will probably result in defeat.

However, McChrystal says success in Afghanistan is still achievable if military forces can reverse insurgent momentum.

U.S. President Barack Obama and his national security team are reviewing McChrystal's report, which he submitted to Defense Secretary Robert Gates on August 30. The president is trying to decide whether to send additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan.

Gates said last week more time is needed to make a decision regarding troop levels.

U.S. military officials said Sunday that three American troops died in Afghanistan in two separate incidents, Voice of America reports.

It was also reported, the number of US troops in Afghanistan is already set to rise to 68,000 by the end of the year.

Gen McChrystal warned that "inadequate resources will likely result in failure".

He says, "Failure to gain the initiative and reverse insurgent momentum in the near-term [next 12 months] - while Afghan security capacity matures - risks an outcome where defeating the insurgency is no longer possible."

Gen McChrystal said that failure to provide adequate resources "also risks a longer conflict, greater casualties, higher overall costs, and ultimately, a critical loss of political support".

"Any of these risks, in turn, are likely to result in mission failure."

Gen McChrystal has consistently called for a military strategy which makes its top priority the protection of the Afghan people against the Taliban.

In a report circulated among senior Nato and US officials last month, he said Afghans were undergoing a crisis of confidence because the war against the Taliban had not improved their lives.

That report did not make any direct call for increasing troop numbers, BBC reports.

News agencies also report, McChrystal says the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) are not large enough to fight the Taliban and that demonstrable progress by the government and the ANSF over the next 12 to 18 months is critical to maintain the support of the international community.

He says the size of the Afghan army needed to increase from a planned strength of 134,000 to an estimated 240,000. There are currently around 92,000 soldiers in the army.

The Afghan police force, which lags years behind the army, needs to grow from 84,000 police to 160,000, he says.

Detention operations in Afghanistan, although critical to counter-insurgency operations, have the potential to become a "strategic liability" for international forces, says McChrystal, Reuters reports.

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