December 8th, 2009
10:44 AM ET

Your View: A 'critical' 18 months

Gen. Stanley McChrystal and Karl Eikenberry, U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, face Congressional hearings on Tuesday about Obama's Afghanistan strategy. McChrystal told the House Armed Services Committee early in the hearing that the next 18 months will be "critical" in the war in that country.  "I believe the next 18 months are critical, especially in the eyes of the Afghan people and the insurgency. I believe for these 18 months we're going to make tremendous progress ... while we simultaneously grow the Afghan capacity to provide for long-term security," McChrystal said.

What do you think? What will be the most critical part of the plan in the next 18 months? Can the strategy succeed?

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Filed under: Decision: Afghanistan • Your View
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. Tahera Nassrat

    @ M C: if you vote for Taliban either you are one of them, OR, you haven't lived under their command. Try to see it and then i will ask you, are you going to vote for Talib?

    January 2, 2010 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Antoinette Meijrink

    I provoked lots of comments with my pretty as a Spring Chicken Positivism, but let's face it
    – People have no Grudge against Obama on the International Platform. Obama in his foreign Policy can do a lot worse, than seek the round Table to Unite the International opinion on the next stepts towards Restoring a Balance,which shows the best aspects for a longer lasting World on all Continents. China also admits to it not looking half as Peacefull in a Prolonged Shadow Form of Emperate in Political republican Consensus of civil relations between Neighboring People. The Way China worships Tibet,which has become much too Politically involved with it's own ambition: The Highest Monastery Tibet needs to Meditate on The Belief in Life after Life eternal in
    my somewhat limited Diplomatic Overtone that wants to turn to her generation to exclude any more of them having done their damndest with all the education we got to spoil our children rotten by lack of time because our Ego seems to classify as unpredictable when left to their own devices, whithout Guidance.....Correct me if I am wrong about the thorough destrouction of our Western Religious Icons Living their life for us treading our persoinal Roads of life, by molest of proper conduct.
    As I said Blackwater has been acquited. This trial had never been tazken up by the Civilas State Attorney.When Blackwater acts like they have been granted access via Official U.S. Routes, I do not believe it when The have not been hauled in front of a Court Marshall.

    January 2, 2010 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  3. Randy Johnston

    What, me worry? We've got Special Forces, Special Activities Division and Blackwater.
    Drone on, Dudes.

    January 1, 2010 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
  4. M C

    7000 yrs of History says: Nobody wins in Afgahnistan

    !

    The race doesn't always go to the swift and the fleet..............................

    I vote for the Takiban!!

    December 20, 2009 at 8:46 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Tahera Nassrat

    @ Muhammad Nasir; you should bear in mind that first; Pakistan is the main source of war in Afghanistan because, Pakistan neither let Afghanistan nor India to live, secondly, Afghanistan is like a person without legs, and needs ISAF help to be sustainable, its too weak to stand up and fight for itself.
    The reason for war in Afghanistan is the interference of other countries, particularly Pakistan which took every thing from Afghanistan.
    Afghanistan is like a desert which needs every thing like, good government, good parliament, education, schools, hospitals, strong Armies, qualified people, infrastructure and most difficult job, changing people's idea and thought and changing Afghanistan from being typical to a practical country.

    December 18, 2009 at 2:11 am | Report abuse |
  6. Antoinette Meijrink

    Micromanagers for military I like it. Global Defense has only One Supreme Commander, involved in things as an operational handbook for combining resource and deployment in case Earth is Globally under attack. His or her task is way out of my league, I only had the role of foster care for Data in phase not being their original biotechnical self from an original transfer in document.. You'd be surprised though how heavy the Fibre war ran High. Technocrusianes as large as ..... zoz

    December 16, 2009 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  7. valjean

    If we are determined to be there we must afford the military the full complement of tools to accomplish the objective. This president and his administration have not one iota of military knowledge and should defer all military decisions to those responsible for bringing our family members home alive and whole.
    Micro-managers are seldom successful in any field, including the political arenas. Knowing when to put your faith in the experts may be a harsh lesson for this administration, thus far they've made a mess of health care reform, meddled in corporate america, kow-towed to the banks and pharmaceuticals and generally played the role of newbies on a power trip.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:39 am | Report abuse |
  8. combat scent

    Is there ill feelings towards your brothers in the north from CNN? The only reason I ask this, is because the Canadian Forces gets little to no mention at all from CNN in this war in Afghanistan. Not only is a Canadian general in command of American troops right now, we have also lost more soldiers in Afghanistan than ANY other allied nation, including the British, which is indicative of hard fighting. We were also the first troops on the ground along with the Americans in a joint operation to find Osama Bin Laden himself. Im not mad at all, because after all, we are not fighting over there for the 15 minutes of fame, but since CNN is one of the most watched news programs in Canada, if not the most, it would be very nice to those in military and the families of those to know our work over there is appreciated by our brothers south of the border.

    December 15, 2009 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Amy Cox

      Hi, please see our post from December 7 – a very popular post with the community. Thanks for checking out our new Afghanistan Crossroads blog and keep the comments coming!
      http://afghanistan.blogs.cnn.com/2009/12/07/canadas-role-in-afghanistan/

      December 16, 2009 at 1:10 am | Report abuse |
  9. Richard Rankin

    The Taliban forbid the growing of Opium. Our friends in Afghanistan now have a 50,000 ton (100,000,000 pound) surplus and Afghani heroin kills more people in one year than have died since we arrived there. The war on drugs is a supply side war. $50+ billion/year on the war on drugs for 30 years and what do we have? Zip. Squat. Nada. More people in prison than any other nation on earth and drug use is up. Torch it.

    And the military situation? It took Alexander the great 1 month to conquer Persia and 3 years to conquer Afghanistan. The British in th 19th century, the Russians, Operation Anaconda? I agree with the guys above – I've read Sun Tzu and Clausewitz. We use the most accurate weapons the world has ever seen so there will be no Hiroshima, no Dresden. Casualties, yes. There is only one strategy: complete surrender or complete destruction. You get to the "Mr. Nice Guy" stuff afterward. Throw everything you have at the enemy- lots of thermobarics would be a good start. We can always re-evaluate when everyone left alive has a ringing in their ears.

    December 13, 2009 at 8:09 am | Report abuse |
  10. Manuel J.

    To those making comments like "destroy the poppy crop". Poppy crops wouldn't exist if it weren't for drugs users in other countries (i.e. U.S.A., U.K., Germany...).

    Many are also commenting on rules of engagement and limitations. Armies tend to understand one thing, "total defeat" which was eloquently stated earlier (i.e. Sun Tzu, General Tecumseh Sherman). Fanatics only know total destruction (e.g. Imperial Japan, Nazi Germany...). During the first 4 hours of D-Day in Normandy, 2,000 soldiers had lost their lives. By the end of the day, 10,000 had died, That is called sacrifice for the greater good. Had the rules of engagement in WWII emulated today's policies, Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany would be alive and well.

    As a combat vet, I pray for our military personnel and their families. I also pray the damn politicians would let the military do what they do best.

    December 12, 2009 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
  11. Jenna

    I believe that sending troops and reinforcements is the wrong thing to with Afganistan. My husband is currently serving his tour of duty in Iraq. When I heard this anouncement i'm horrified. I've had 3 friends shot and killed in duty over there, along with worrying about my husband. What am I supposed to tell our daughter when he doent come back on day?

    December 12, 2009 at 12:31 am | Report abuse |
  12. 1of the Gunts

    First off far too long have we as American's sat back and watched the world destroy itself. And when we start to take on the responsibilities of cleaning up these countries that not only destroy them selves but attack other countries, American's are up in arms. Whining. We have kept the enemy from our back yard for almost 9 years. Kept them from plotting, executing mass destruction upon us. We have built up a new country (Iraq) to which OUR Armed Forces fought for and died for in order to allow them to think for themselves. Certain people in this great nation think that we can just let this go, bring back our troops, leave these countries alone and continue on with our lives. I would like to know how we are going to stop terrorist from attacking our home then. Who is going to stop them from coming in? We enjoy many freedoms and objects too much to just close down our boarders and isolate ourselves from the world. Think about it.. You think that everybody is going to play nice? The world is not nice, it is getting smaller with the population getting bigger by the day, and we are a great nation that is the first one to help dig this world out of the hole that it has digging itself. I say to the readers stop it. Stop complaining, stop trying to undermine this war, stop blaming the bush administration, start helping. Sign up and fight and know what your talking about and what we do, or help armed forces members when they come home feel like they fought for something, or do something that would benefit our country instead of complaining what we are doing.

    December 11, 2009 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse |
  13. McArthur

    A liitle background 1st. When Gen Mchrystal made a request for more troops, that request was approved within 72 hrs. by the commander in chief, national security staff, and joint chiefs. The so-called "dithering" was intended to give time to the army to figure out deployment logistics, refit and retrain the troops and develop a strategy to "win" in Afghanistan.

    My guess is that quite a few special operations forces will be deployed to identify, find, and destroy the Taliban and Al-Queda leadership.

    President Karhzi and his corrupt cronies only have power in Kabul. The tribal chieftains rule the rest of the country. We must make a deal with these chieftains in order to have success.

    Deal or no deal #1: You help us find the enemy, then we will provide security for your tribe.
    Deal or no deal #2: Poppy is your primary cash crop. What say you if we pay very good money for wheat and corn instead of poppies, then sell much of it back to your own people at an affordable price?
    Deal or no deal #2: Once the enemy are on the run, their hideouts exposed, their leaders killed, we will pack up and leave. The government that results afterwards will be yours alone. I dare say that the people are sick of war, and have seen glimpses of religious and economic freedom over the last few years.

    Finally, if an another major attack on the US can be traced back to your country, we will not send ground troops into your country. Instead, we will bomb you back into the stone age.

    The Choice is Yours.

    December 11, 2009 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Charley B

    Given that the Soviet Union was not known for its benevolent behavior why would any commander think that he could win a war in a theater where they lost?

    Sun Tzu will tell you and General Sherman demonstrated, that there is no war except total war and if you are not committed to total war you have already lost.

    Afghanistan is a fools folly, in sending troops we are only repeating the lessons we apparently either forgot or did not learn as the result of Viet Nam.

    The reality is that there is only one way to win, pretty much everything there has to die. Anything short of that politically incorrect position will result in ecomomic loss and body bags for us to deal with.

    December 11, 2009 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Joe Fattal

    @Peter Thank you for reading my comment, and disagreeing with it. At least I brought your attention about the falacy of our war in Afghanistan, regardless if you like it or not. Our servicemembers are dying over a corrupt Afghanistan government, and the surge will not but to increase our servicemembers casualties. We shouldn't be there fighting someone's war, fighting for Karai, or for the Afghans. I wont see them come to our rescue if we ever need any help. We need to be out of that region.

    December 11, 2009 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
  16. Muhammad Nasir

    Hi
    1st of all i would like to comment on startegy of afghanistan U.S is responsible for everything happening in Pakistan or Afghanistan U.S must have to ge back there home to leave us in this region...thats all my comments

    December 11, 2009 at 7:25 am | Report abuse |
  17. Alex

    I think that we don't need to back out, who gives a crap about Obama we are going to finish this war without Obama or not!

    December 10, 2009 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Ron J

    This so called training of the afghans to police the country and defend itself sounds a lot like the old term ‘Vietnamization” used to describe South Vietnam taking over
    for US forces there. It never happened. So this reshashed Afghanization strategy
    is just a way for the military to keep dancing for more money and time from congress
    when they know this plan won’t work that way. Why does our congress
    always praise and believe these shady generals when they push this charade at these hearings?
    They seem to be in a fantasy world of denial. If our military cannot define
    Success after 8 years, why keep believing more of the same from them ?

    It’s just so unfair to the military families who are asked to sacrifice so much
    For so long .

    December 10, 2009 at 3:52 am | Report abuse |
  19. peter

    Joe, you're an idiot. do some research before you go around commenting your dumb questions to people.

    December 9, 2009 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Joe Fattal

    30.000 troops are leaving to Afghanistan, and we are not even near to solve our problems over there, I am not even talking about the Afghan problems which seems to be also our problems. If our problems are the POPPY field, let them smoke them out, or sell them. We need in this country much needed assistance to stop the flow of drugs into this country from Mexico. If our problems are the Taliban, we have a bigger problem than we though we have. Either way you cut it, an Afghan is also a Taliban, unless someone can give me a definition who and what is a Taliban. Who's shooting at us, and whom I am shooting at. That is the main question, and it will remain unanswer. So it will be a no winning situation until we leave Afghanistan. In Pakistan it will be the same thing. Look at Iraq, its a mess, they have more people killed than under Saddam Hussein rule. At least with Saddam Hussein the country was quiet, every secterial faction minded their own affairs, and Saddam had it totally controlled under him. The irony about is Iraq was much better under Saddam Hussein than under Malaki. The US government need to learn somehow that, in that part of the world things need to remain the way they are. You do not go to a country, like Iraq, Afghanistan or even any moderate country in that part of the world and change regime and expect the whole area to return to normal, after being in place for years. We need to stay out from that part of the world. They are not a threat to us, but to themselves.

    December 9, 2009 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  21. karelzide

    when we have hungry, homeless children in this country why are we wasteing lives and money in another futile war? i was active in move on.org, to help Pres.Obama get elected; this isn't what i thought i would be voting for. dissillusioned american

    December 9, 2009 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Art

    Your right Mr. Mc Donough, but I don't think Mr. Spencer was around during Vietnam. Alot of people are clueless as to what happened then. History may well again repeat itself. We just can't seem to learn from our mistakes.

    December 9, 2009 at 8:24 am | Report abuse |
  23. Kimberly Garcia

    This is really spontaneouse i cant believe many people dont have a heart but dont realize that its there. what i mean with that is that instead of helping other countrys we are just harming them. Obama should just stop sending so many people tp war and with all worrie more about global warming. that is a big problem and its affecting the whole world. Americans are very smart with inventions so maybe we can come out wit something that can help the whole world not just America. i am only 16 years old and i really care for my country.

    December 8, 2009 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Gary- Aurora, OH

    The U.S. made a mistake equating the Taliban with other Jihadi Islamic groups. There are far more Taliban than Al Qaeda in the Middle East and many of them should have probably have been wlecomed to participate in the Afghan government. But no, we make enemies of all! Now it sounds like we are going to fight the taliban also. What a mistake!

    Obama is following Bush's error by not pursuing Al Qaeda in the first place. Now it has become a much broader fight than it needed to be.

    God bless our troops, their families, our taxpayers, our continuing problems which could have been solved with this afghan war $$. Afghanistan is no Viet Nam. But remember when we needed to jump in because the French lost and we needed to stop another Communist domino from falling? 60,000 american lives lost!! Our military & politicians did not understand that war of national liberation, and they do not understand the Middle East. Will we see the same result? Stay tuned- Obama may be a one-term president. Change we can believe in???

    December 8, 2009 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Gary- Aurora, OH

    The U.S. would do better by leaving the Middle East to its people to handle their own affairs. Militant Islam will then decline to no threat to the U.S. It is not up to us to decide how Middle Eastern peoples treat one another, even if Taliban-like machismo oppresses women. This is their culture and not our fight. Rather, lets take the $73B Obama will spend in Afghanistan and create U.S. jobs, re-build manufacturing, rid us of our petroleum dependence and reduce our military budget. We are the only country in the world with a vast network of military bases and no threat. What is our problem?

    Let's be the peacemakers of the world and end the endless war of the 20th-21th century. Let Iran build nuclear power for peaceful purposes, treat them with the respect they deserve, and they will not build bombs. Note China's economic rise with no foreign military bases or presence. They have few enemies in the world, and are not bogged down in endless war sapping the country of precious treasure and manpower. Let the Cold War politicians retire, and bring new perspective in the new blood and ideas we can bring to the world. The future is endless and bountiless if we pursue it

    December 8, 2009 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
  26. Tim Mc Donough

    Correction I say shame on you who do NOT protect our troops.

    December 8, 2009 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
  27. Tim Mc Donough

    I truly support our troops and the families back home. GOD BLESS THEM All. I do have a problem with THE RULES OF ENGAGEMENT WITH THE ENEMY. Why do our troups sometimes cannot fire upon the enemy under certain circumstances? Even when our own troops are being killed, II I ASK OUR COMMANDING GENERALS TO EXPLAIN THIS TO OUR PEOPLE IN THE U.S. FIGHT THE FIGHT OR GET THE HELL OUT OF THE ENTIRE MIDDLE-EAST. I am feed-up with the political bull-crap including corruption of within the country's involved. How do we know if some are really for the enemy instead of allies of the U.S. I am a Vietnam Veteran and RULES OF ENGAGEMENT cause more battelfield deaths, because of decisions made by political people whom do not know what the hell they are are doing. I say shame on you who do protect our troops,do your job. GOD BLESS THE U.S.A. THANK YOU TO ALL WHO SERVE TODAY. I WISH THEM WELL.

    December 8, 2009 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Ashton Spencer

    I think it well work but we have to stick to it becuse if we don't and we leave, it would of been 6 years down the drain of men, money, and time. So I'm happy with the Generals actually convincing him/or geting him to do this insted of runing away like we did in Vietnam becuse it makes us look like we will run every time we get in a war.

    ps. Also if we leave all those men who died would of died in vein.

    December 8, 2009 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Richard Calhoun

    Kill the Afgan POPPY crop and the money for Weapons will be gone!
    Teach the Afgan farmers to grow other crops.
    Stop the Drugs and War by killing the POPPY crops

    December 8, 2009 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |