Wire: Sen. Kerry Slams McChrystal Afghan Plan, 'Goes Too Far, Too Fast'
Off the Wire:
WASHINGTON, Oct. 27, 2009 -- Newswire services yesterday reported that John Kerry, the Massachusetts Democrat who is chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, says a proposal to send as many as 40,000 more American troops to Afghanistan "goes too far and too fast".
Speaking to the Council on Foreign Relations, Senator Kerry praised U.S. President Barack Obama's current review of the nation's strategy in Afghanistan, VOA News said.
We now have to choose a smart way forward so that no one is ever compelled to ask whether we've made a mistake in staying," Kerry said.
The top U.S. and NATO military commander there, Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, has warned the United States could lose the war if additional forces are not deployed.
The United States has nearly 68,000 troops deployed in Afghanistan and there are about 40,000 from NATO and other allied countries.
The general reportedly is asking for as many as 40,000 additional troops -- a figure Kerry said is too high, VOA News noted.
"I am convinced, from my conversations with General Stanley McChrystal - and I'm grateful to him for the time he gave me there and even on the telephone since - he understands the necessity of conducting a smart counterinsurgency in a limited geographic area," he said. "But I believe his current plan reaches too far, too fast."The White House has said a decision on Afghan strategy will be made in "the coming weeks."
Kerry, during a recent trip to Afghanistan and Pakistan, is credited with playing a key role in convincing Afghan President Hamid Karzai to enter a run-off election, following wide-spread corruption that tainted the initial contest in August.
Kerry said now is not the time for a large surge of additional troops.
Yesterday, 14 Americans were killed in Afghanistan.
(Report from newswire sources.)