The top US military commander in Afghanistan has met senior politicians there as part of a charm offensive to sell Barack Obama’s new strategy.
General Stanley McChrystal hopes to reassure wary Afghans that the country won’t be abandoned and that Washington’s commitment is long-term. “By this time next year, one year from now, I believe I will be able to tell you that the strategy is clearly working, and will be successful,” said McChrystal, who commands US and NATO forces in the country. He said the focus was on helping the Afghan people build enough capacity to provide security themselves. Afghan Member of Parliament Daud Sultanzoi seemed encouraged. “This is a long term partnership that Afghanistan and the international community and the United States will enjoy until everything is resolved and until Afghanistan enjoys its desired stability,” he said. Facing an insurgency that has never been stronger, Western forces will have extra combat firepower with the arrival of the new US troops. But McChrystal has said the “main effort” will be on training Afghans.