Tags: Afghanistan | leon panetta | afghanistan | win | war | traditional

Panetta: 'There is No Silver Bullet' That Will 'Fix' Afghanistan

(MSNBC)

By    |   Tuesday, 22 August 2017 01:49 PM

President Donald Trump's vow to win the war in Afghanistan is concerning, as it is not a war that can be won in the traditional sense, former Defense Secretary and CIA Director Leon Panetta said Tuesday.

"He did talk about trying to base our strategy on conditions on the ground and I think that's kind of a different approach," Panetta, who served under President Barack Obama, said on MSNBC's "Andrea Mitchell Reports" program. "But the words that concern me the most are that we are going to win this war."

Panetta said the whole goal for Afghanistan is to establish a country that can secure and govern itself, and that should continue to be the focus.

"If we try to somehow tell the American people that there is going to be a military victory here, I think frankly that's going to mislead the American public," said Panetta.

In his primetime speech Monday night, Trump said he had inherited a "bad hand" when it comes to Afghanistan, based on the actions of former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, and Panetta agreed that it has been a "difficult challenge" for presidents to deal with that country.

"It is the longest war in our history," he told Mitchell. "There is no question that this is not going to be subject to a simple solution. There is no quick fix here. There is no silver bullet. It is going to take an awful lot of work."

Panetta said he is happy that Trump isn't merely walking away from Afghanistan, but still, he would have appreciated hearing a set of goals about what the United States is trying to achieve.

"It would seem to me that it is important to reduce the level of violence to make sure there aren't car bombs going off in Kabul," he said.

It would also mean strengthening U.S. counterintelligence operations, as 50 percent of Afghanistan is controlled by the Taliban, Panetta continued.

"It would seem to me a legitimate goal if we try to regain that territory,' said Panetta.

The U.S. also needs to eliminate the corruption in the Afghan government if it ever hopes to have stability, and must seal the nation's border with Pakistan, Panetta said, while dealing with the influence of Iran and Russia."

Trump said Monday that the United States can no longer remain quiet on Pakistan, which offers safe haven for terrorist organizations. He also called for further development of india as a strategic partner to the United States.

But the challenge to Pakistan has been difficult, said Panetta, as it's resisted closing its border or dealing with terrorists.

"You can ask, you can say pretty please, but I don't think the Pakistanis are necessarily going to respond, Panetta told Mitchell. "I think the only key to that is to be able to develop an approach that in fact seals that border."

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President Donald Trump's vow to win the war in Afghanistan is concerning, as it is not a war that can be won in the traditional sense, former Defense Secretary and CIA Director Leon Panetta said Tuesday.
leon panetta, afghanistan, win, war, traditional
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2017-49-22
Tuesday, 22 August 2017 01:49 PM
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