I thought the following was interesting. We posted it on our Military Matters blog, but that only goes to the Georgia Front Page list & followers. Thought some of you might be interested in reading, too.
4-Star Gen. McCaffrey Back From Afghanistan...
/PRNewswire/ -- Four Star-Gen. Barry McCaffrey (Ret), a former Gulf War commander, SouthCom Commander, and U.S. National Drug Policy Director, now Adjunct Professor of International Affairs at West Point, has issued a comprehensive assessment, report, and recommendations on the situation in Afghanistan following a week long-visit.
During his mission, conducted for the U.S. Military Academy, McCaffrey toured the region and met with senior military officials including General David Petraeus and General Stanley McChrystal, attended a Joint Command briefing, met with the ISAF Strategic Advisory Board, top Afghanistan officials, U.S. diplomats including Ambassador Karl Eikenberry, and law enforcement officials.
For the full report, see: http://www.mccaffreyassociates.com/pdfs/AAR_november_2009.pdf.
Among Gen. McCaffrey's findings:
* The President's strategy speech at West Point was "coherent, logical, and sincere."
* A successful strategy will require three to ten years "to build a viable Afghan state with their own security force that can allow us to withdraw. We are likely to suffer thousands more U.S. casualties."
* One of the most important concerns is the stability of Pakistan.
* "We are vulnerable in our Afghanistan operation.... There is little question that Pakistan offers de facto sanctuary to the Taliban.... The Pakistani Army is fighting their own Taliban for the future of the nation."
* "The Taliban believe they are winning in Afghanistan. The Taliban now have a serious presence in 160 districts of 364 -- up from 30 in 2003. In July alone they employed 828 IED attacks. We should expect 5700 IED attacks by year's end 2009."
* "The Afghan National Army is a growing success story," but "the Afghan National police are badly equipped, corrupt (7300 fired in last two years), and untrained." Even with U.S. DOD taking charge of the program, "it will take a decade to create an Afghan National Police Force with adequate integrity."
* While the U.S. prison commander establishes proper values and meets each day with senior detainees to hear their views, "the nation's 34 provincial prisons and 203 detention centers are appalling. Prisoners are consistently subject to torture and police frequently rape female and male detainees."
* The Taliban enforce a parallel system of justice involving hangings, torture, beheadings and beatings."
* "Afghanistan now has hope" despite its problems. Access to basic health care has rocketed from 8% in 2001 to 79%, 83% of children are immunized, TB deaths are down 50%, and seven million children including three million girls are in school - up from one million students and zero girls during the Taliban rule.
THE DRUG ISSUE:
* "The $3.4 billion opium crop produces weapons and supplies for the Taliban and al Qaeda. Left unaddressed, the heroin menace will defeat our strategic goals. Afghanistan produces 93% of the global supply of heroin."
"The current notion that we can ignore the growers as simple farmers and focus our counter-drug strategy on law enforcement against the cartels is painfully naive."
"The solution is three pronged. First, work on alternative livelihood agricultural crops. Second, have the Afghan political leadership confront the opium issue as un-Islamic and one that destroys their culture. Third, destroy the crops. Without the last, nothing will work."
We can achieve our objectives in the coming five years:
* Create an Afghan security force;
* Create governance from the bottom up;
* Mitigate the corruption by having a parallel chain of financial custody until the Afghan government is operating unlike an active criminal enterprise."