McChrystal’s Last Day

Dec 10, 2009 6:33pm

ABC News' Luis Martinez reports: Gen. Stanley McChrystal wrapped up his week of marathon appearances before congressional committees today much the same as he started the week, expressing confidence that the new Afghan strategy and the infusion of 30,000 additional troops will turn the tide of Taliban momentum over the next 18 months. However, today’s appearance before the House Foreign Affairs Committee afforded the commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan the opportunity to clarify some remarks he had made earlier in the week about the importance of capturing or killing Osama bin Laden in helping defeat al Qaeda. In his appearance Tuesday before the Senate Armed Services Committee, McChrystal called bin Laden an iconic figure whose “survival emboldens al Qaeda as a franchising organization across the world.” McChrystal added,”it would not defeat al  Qaeda to have him captured or killed, but I don't think that we can  finally defeat al Qaeda until he is captured or killed.”     Today, he clarified his answer saying eliminating bin Laden was just a step in the process towards defeating the terror organization. McChrystal explained his belief “that al Qaeda can be defeated overall, but I believe it's an ideology.  And he is an iconic leader.” "So I think to complete the destruction of that organization, it does mean he needs  to be brought to justice.  It will be another of the steps.  However, I don't believe that simply getting him ends that organization, either.  I think it's one step in it.” Many congressmen this week pointed out to McChrystal that much of the new Afghan strategy’s success depends on Pakistan’s commitment to taking on the Taliban along the border with Afghanistan. In their congressional testimony McChrystal, US Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry and Centcom commander Gen. David Petraeus have praised Pakistan’s recent military operations against the Pakistani Taliban and expressed the hope they would also put pressure on Afghani Taliban fighters operating inside their borders. McChrystal’s answer today was more direct than it has been all week. Asked by Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, what Pakistan would do once it took "care of business with the Taliban that is the home-grown folks that just stick around in Pakistan to do mischief, but people running back and forth across the border into Afghanistan, they don't consider that their problem?" McChrystal replied, ” Congressman, I think that may oversimplify it.  I think they do.  But I wish that they would do more against the Afghan Taliban.”

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