Times 2

10,000 civilians 2,753 soldiers killed, £258bn spent... but still only 'half way there': General McChrystal

By Ian Drury

Britain and its allies are still far from achieving their goals in Afghanistan despite ten years of fighting, warned a former commander of the coalition forces in the country. General Stanley McChrystal said the allies ‘still don’t know enough’ about Afghanistan and were ‘little better than’ halfway to succeeding in their military aims.

The American general spoke out as the Afghan president admitted his government and the coalition had failed to provide ordinary people with security, even though it was a decade since the Taliban regime fell
Hamid Karzai said: ‘We’ve done terribly badly in providing security to the Afghan people. This is the greatest shortcoming of our government and our international partners.’

In recent months Taliban fanatics have carried out a string of brazen attacks. The coalition launched Operation Enduring Freedom in October 2001 after the 9/11 atrocity in New York in an effort to track down Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, destroy terror training camps and overthrow the Taliban regime which had sheltered extremists.

But a swift victory was followed by a decade of war that has claimed the lives of 2,700 Nato troops, including 382 Britons, and some 10,000 civilians.General McChrystal, who commanded coalition forces in 2009-10, said the allies entered Afghanistan with too little knowledge about the country’s history and culture.

He said: ‘We didn’t know enough and we still don’t know enough. Most of us – me included – had a very superficial understanding of the situation and history.’ The general was forced out over comments he made about some of President Obama’s aides in a magazine article.

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