Washington, Mar.30 (ANI): The chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, Admiral Mike Mullen, has told Afghanistan President Hamid Ansari that NATO’s military offensive in Afghanistan will prove a waste of time unless he stamps out corruption in the Taleban stronghold of Kandahar.
This is second top-level warning to the Afghan leader in less than 24 hours, according to The Telegraph.
“We will be unable to succeed in Kandahar if we cannot eliminate a vast majority of corruption there,” Admiral Mike Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in what appeared to be an attack on Karzai’s half-brother, Ahmad Wali Karzai, who dominates Kandahar and denies accusations of his links with its opium trade.
“If we can’t do that there, then we will not be able to succeed … That’s just a fact,” Admiral Mullen added
The assessment came as tens of thousands of troops prepared for the most important military engagement in eight years of fighting in Afghanistan.
A full-scale offensive to remove the Taleban from Kandahar is NATO’s next military objective and the centrepiece of General Stanley McChrystal’s plan to use a 30,000-strong “surge” to pave the way for a withdrawal, starting next year.
US troops plan to have cleared the Taleban out of Kandahar by the beginning of August, before the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
A collapse in support for Karzai’s Government is a nightmare scenario for Washington and would expose Obama to charges of wasting American lives and 30 billion dollars a year for the surge alone.
White House fears of such a scenario were reportedly behind Obama’s overnight trip to Kabul and Admiral Mullen’s follow-up visit less than a day later. (ANI)