Thursday, September 24, 2009

Wire: Gen. McChrystal Says Afghan Violence "Worse" Than Expected

Off the Wire

Off the Wire:

WASHINGTON, Sept. 24, 2009 -- Newswire services this evening reported that Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, in an interview told CBS News National Security correspondent David Martin that the violence in Afghanistan was more than he expected.

CBN News said Martin spent a week speaking to the general in Kabul and following him on his daily mission overseeing the coalition forces in Afghanistan.
Asked if things are better or worse than he expected since his arrival a few months ago, the general replies, "They're probably a little worse. I think that in some areas that the breadth of the violence, the geographic spread of violence, is a little more than I would have gathered."

The increased violence has resulted in 265 civilians killed in U.S. or coalition action in the past 12 months the general says, a situation that must stop if victory is to be attained.

"This civilian casualty issue is much more important than I even realized. It is literally how we lose the war, or in many ways how we win it," McChrystal explained.

The general has halted many operations aimed too close to civilians, even if the target area was the source of enemy fire. He believes it's more important to protect civilians than kill Taliban or Qaeda fighters, because not having the support of the Afghan people is a risk he cannot afford.
McChrystal’s interview will be broadcast on 60 Minutes this Sunday, Sept. 27, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

(Report from newswire sources.)

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