Prince Turki: US Missed Chance for Afghan Pullout

Arab News13.09.2011 KSA
Prince Turki: US Missed Chance for Afghan Pullout

Prince Turki: US Missed Chance for Afghan Pullout

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The United States should have used the killing of Osama bin Laden to declare victory and quickly withdraw from Afghanistan and now faces an increasingly nationalist uprising in the country, Prince Turki Al-Faisal, Former Chief of General Intelligence (Saudi Arabia), hinted last week.

Prince Turki said the Obama administration had not been given enough credit for removing the Al-Qaeda leader, who was shot dead by US Special Forces in Pakistan on May 1.

“The killing of bin Laden has not gotten the accolades that it deserves, not just throughout the world but even in this country,” Prince Turki said at a conference on terrorism held by the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank.

“Killing bin Laden would have been the perfect moment when your President can say we’ve done it ... this is the timetable that we’ve set for withdrawal of troops and goodbye and good luck. But it hasn’t happened that way.”

US President Barack Obama has pledged to press ahead with the decade-long conflict in Afghanistan under a timetable that would see 10,000 US troops withdrawn by the end of the year and another 23,000 by the end of next summer.

The remaining 66,000 US troops would be slowly withdrawn until a final transition to Afghan security control in 2014.

Prince Turki said Obama should have used bin Laden’s death to announce an immediate military withdrawal.

“I don’t mean withdrawing your Embassy, your economic aid or your other support, but having troops on the ground in Afghanistan has never succeeded,” he said.

“I’m afraid America will come to a time - whether it is next year or the year after or the year after - when it will inevitably have to withdraw, and this would have been the perfect moment to leave with a victory and not to go on and sort of continue in this endless conflict.” Prince Turki said it was clear the conflict no longer just involved the Taleban and its supporters in Pashtun tribal areas.



Source: Arab News



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