US far from winning in Afghanistan: McChrystal

The commander of NATO and US forces in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, says the coalition forces are “not winning” the war in Afghanistan.

McChrystal made remarks at a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Turkey.

He told reporters in Istanbul on Thursday that he does not believe the allied efforts in Afghanistan has “turned a corner.”

“I’m not prepared to say that we’ve turned the corner.”

“I still will tell you that I believe the situation in Afghanistan is serious,” McChrystal said on the sidelines of the Istanbul summit.

While US President Barack Obama was considering a troop surge last October, McChrystal had warned that the situation in Afghanistan was deteriorating and the coalition risked failure if it did not send more troops.

General McChrystal, however, claimed that US-led forces had made “significant progress” last year and set the stage for even more progress this year.

He noted that success in the war-weary country is something that is difficult to measure.

“This is all a war of perceptions. This is not a physical war in terms of how many people you kill, how much ground you capture, how many bridges you blow up,” said McChrystal.

“This is all in the minds of the participants. And I mean, the Afghan people are the most important, but the insurgents are another one. You’re just convincing people,” he explained.

His comments came as the death toll of foreign soldiers fighting in Afghanistan under US and NATO command hit 44 in January; the is the highest for that month since the war began more than eight years ago and can be compared to 25 in January 2009.

Foreign troops’ casualties are expected to rise as the US and NATO send more soldiers to Afghanistan with the goal of quelling the Taliban militancy.

Following the September 11, 2001 attacks, the United States invaded Afghanistan, allegedly to root out militancy in the country.

The costly conflict is stretching into its ninth year as thousands of Afghan civilians have been killed both by acts of violence, including bombings and daily fighting, and US military operations in the country.


Original source: