22 July 2010

Afghanistan Timetables Have Been a Bad Idea Since... oh, 1840 or so

Why are we only now figuring out that these timetables give off mixed messages?

US and British generals have always resisted setting timetables for their mission in Afghanistan.

In part because it's been impossible to predict the pace of progress - so far it has been much slower than anticipated.

But military commanders also fear that setting any date for a drawdown, or withdrawal, of troops will send a signal to the Taliban that there's a limit to how long they can stomach the fight.

Western politicians, however, are more acutely aware of the limit to their public's patience.

So senior officers on both sides of the Atlantic have had to accept the fact that their political masters want to set out some indications of how long this will take.

Until now David Cameron has been careful to stress that any dates for a drawdown of British forces will be dependent on conditions on the ground.

But in recent weeks timelines have become harder.

The prime minister has now made clear that British troops will end their combat role in Afghanistan by 2015.

By: Brant

No comments: