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No shortcuts to success in Afghanistan, says US

December 09, 2009 08:55 IST

A top US military official today said there is no silver bullet for Afghanistan and the ultimate success there will be cumulative effect of sustained pressure across multiple lines of operation. "Being successful in Afghanistan, winning, is not solely the responsibility of the US military. This is not that kind of war, not that kind of struggle. Success will come only by and through a concerted effort by other agencies and other partners," Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters at a news briefing in Washington.

Referring to the new Afghanistan policy, Mullen said: "The President has made it very clear: While our commitment to the people of Afghanistan is enduring, our troop presence will not be." The task, therefore, was to increase the quality and quantity of Afghanistan's security forces so that they could provide for their own security and improve it to such a degree which would allow good governance, or at least in certain selected ministries. "And so in July of 2011, we will begin the process of transition, of transferring more responsibility to Afghan national-security forces and thinning our own lines. At that time, the marines we sent last summer into Helmand province will have been at the job for 2 years. We will know by then if we have been successful," he said. 

"As Gen McChrystal said just this morning, there are no silver bullets. Ultimate success will be the cumulative effect of sustained pressure across multiple lines of operation," Mullen said. The US military leader said the State Department was
stepping in to meet the challenges for providing more civilian expertise on the ground, particularly in agriculture.
"We need more contributions from our NATO allies, and I'm delighted by the news out of Brussels that some 7,000 more
troops will be forthcoming. We need to see effort on the -- by the Karzai government to make good on promised reforms and to extend the delivery of goods and services all the way down to the district and sub-district levels," he said.
Mullen defended the US President's decision to send 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan. "I am convinced, having worked my way through the strategic review, that this is an absolute requirement to reverse the insurgency, to turn the momentum around that has been increasing each year over the last three years with respect to the Taliban," he said.
"So I'm a strong believer that this is the right decision and the right path. That others would certainly differ wouldn't surprise me, and in fact, that Iran would differ on the face of it doesn't surprise me much at all," he said when told Iran was against surge of US troops.
"Iran is a border state; they obviously have interests there, and I'm sure they are observing very closely what's going on, and obviously the decision that the president made," Mullen said. It was important to understand that the US President's
decision was internationally supported and seen as a very positive step by 43 nations, he said, adding that he was not surprised by opposition in one or two isolated cases.

Lalit K Jha in Washington
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