The top commanding officer in Afghanistan has revealed a belief that “rampant government corruption” has given the Taliban and al-Qaeda an edge in the war. The conclusion came in a recent secret document put together by Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, U.S. officials told the Associated Press. Though the document requests more troops, it warns that more troops may not prevent the Taliban from taking back Afghanistan.
Corruption in Afghanistan became public knowledge after the presidential election in Afghanistan was revealed as rigged by independent election observers. Fraud investigations discovered that 1.1 million ‘questionable votes’ were given to President Hamid Karzai, and that the subtraction of these votes was enough to push Karzai below 50 percent.
Though McChrystal states that fewer troops will bring less risks, he believes that any new deployment has a high risk of failure. The report outlines three deployment options, the largest hypothetical deployment being one of 80,000 new soldiers. There are now 67,000 American troops in Afghanistan, with 1,000 more coming in December. McChrystal prefers the ‘compromise’ option of a 40,000 troop increase.
One U.S. military official alluded to talks with the Obama administration over whether or not it is possible to ‘surge’ enough troops into the country to stop crucial corruption. Officials spoke on condition of anonymity with the Associated Press because they were not authorized to discuss publicly.
President Obama announced today that he would decide on a war strategy and a fixed number of troops “in the coming weeks.” His focus is on “making sure we’re doing a good job in building capacity on the civilian side.”