Musharraf wants US to win in Afghanistan

Washington, September 30: Former President Pervez Musharraf, a close U.S. ally in the war on terror, wants the Obama administration to send additional troops to war-torn Afghanistan where the Taliban insurgency is growing.
“We must win in Afghanistan,” he said in an interview with the conservative Washington Times published in its Tuesday’s edition.

Musharraf said the U.S. would make a “disastrous” mistake if it withdrew from Afghanistan and warned that a delay in sending more troops would be seen as a sign of weakness.

Asked whether the U.S. and its allies might be seen as weak because of the prolonged debate over whether to send more forces to Afghanistan, Musharraf said, “Yes, absolutely. … By this vacillation and lack of commitment to a victory and talking too much about casualties [it] shows weakness in the resolve.”

Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who commands U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan, submitted a request for more troops over the weekend to the Pentagon. A U.S. defense official told The Times that Gen. McChrystal presented several scenarios that could require as many as 40,000 troops.
The Obama administration has said it will not be rushed into a decision on sending forces beyond the 68,000 Americans scheduled to be in Afghanistan by the end of the year.

Musharraf, who is on a speaking tour in the U.S., said al Qaeda was less of a threat than the Taliban, which he said is growing in strength among ethnic Pashtuns who straddle the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
“We must win in Afghanistan,” Musharraf said, warning that otherwise it would become a haven again for al Qaeda as it was before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

“Quitting is not an option,” he said. “We should not delay. Earlier the better.”

Musharraf said U.S. commanders shouldn’t “pursue [the Taliban] in areas” where they have the advantage but “draw them out” into areas where the U.S. coalition has the upper hand.

The Taliban “move with bread and onions,” Musharraf said, and don’t require the elaborate logistical support that U.S. troops do.

Gen. McChrystal, in a dire assessment of the Afghan war that was leaked to the press last week, wrote that “Afghanistan’s insurgency is clearly supported from Pakistan” and that senior leaders of the Taliban and other Afghan insurgents “are based in Pakistan, are linked with al Qaeda and other violent extremist groups, and are reportedly aided by some elements of Pakistan’s ISI.”