America’s senior soldier in Afghanistan has welcomed the imminent arrival of thousands of extra troops and says he believes he now has the resources to tackle the Taliban.
General Stanley McChrystal originally called for 40,000 more soldiers – President Obama has offered 30,000 and NATO countries may make up the shortfall. Even so, the general remains optimistic: “I believe that by next summer the uplift of new forces will make a difference on the ground significantly,” he told US forces in Kandahar. “I believe that by this time next year we will see a level of progress that will convince us that we can clearly articulate that progress, and predict the effectiveness of our operations.” NATO foreign ministers meet today with their governments under increasing US pressure to raise their commitment to Afghanistan. Most leaders were quick to welcome President Obama’s speech, but were less willing to commit actual troops. Britain, Georgia, Poland and Slovakia have all offered more boots on the ground, while Germany is waiting for a strategy review. France, however, appears wary of sending more troops but has indicated it will review its position in the new year.