Mullen on Afghanistan: "...if you're not winning, you're losing."
Published: March 13, 2009
On Wednesday, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen said on the talk program Charlie Rose that the U.S. is not winning the war in Afghanistan and that he expects more violence and American casualties as the U.S. ramps up its efforts to gain the upper hand on the Taliban.
ROSE: Are the Taliban winning?
MULLEN: I said last September were not winning, but I think we can. And in a counterinsurgency, if youre not winning, youre losing.
He also announced that the Obama administrations anxiously awaited policy review on Afghanistan and Pakistan is almost complete. I think it will be done in the next couple of weeks.
Mullen hinted at a formal shift in focus, saying, Theres only so far the military can take it, in Afghanistan, referring to President Obamas call for comprehensive engagement to global security issues.
Mullen said he believes success in Afghanistan means stable governance and an economy, all protected with enough security without defining that last sticky parameter.
Achieving those goals, he said, will require a ramped up civilian nation-building efforts. And until that happens, the military just isnt going to be enough, he said. He suggested NATO countries should be willing to provide police trainers and development workers, if not more military forces.
One obstacle to stability in Pakistan, Mullen said, is the ongoing relationship between terrorist groups and the ISI the Pakistani security forces which he said must fundamentally change. Its my belief that in the long run, [ISI] have got to completely cut ties with those in order to really move in the right direction.