Daniel Korski

General concern

General concern
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The Taliban are expanding their area of influence, NATO allies are eager to leave Afghanistan, the forthcoming parliamentary elections are likely to be even more fraudulent than last year’s presidential election – in other words, how can it get any worse for President Obama’s AfPak strategy?

Oh yeah, the man the US president has trusted to execute the strategy, the man whose name is now synonymous with the international community’s’ plan, General Stanley McChrystal gives an interview to Rolling Stone magazine (in itself a dubious choice), which paints a picture of the commander as insubordinate, unwise or simply not in control of his headquarters.

The fact that everyone has rushed to defend him, from NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen to President Hamid Karzai, merely suggests how much is riding on General’s McChrystal’s shoulders, not that he is blameless. In any other situation, he should probably have been fired.

But nobody can afford to bring a new commander up to speed, wait for that person to forge a link with the wily Afghan president and set to work on a plan everyone can agree on. So McChrystal is likely to stay – for now. Perhaps when he fails to report progress by 2011, the deadline set by President Obama, he will be replaced.