February 14th, 2010
11:33 AM ET

Gen. Jones: Moshtarak is 'kickoff' to Afghan success story

U.S. National Security Adviser Gen. James Jones talked with CNN on Sunday on "State of the Union with Candy Crowley." Here are some of his remarks concerning Afghanistan.

On the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan: Instead of clearing the area and leaving as we frequently did in the past, our plans call for clearing the area, and holding the area, and then providing some building for the people there, better security, and better economic opportunities and more of an Afghan face, and then eventually transitioning to full Afghan sovereignty in those provinces.

On Hamid Karzai: We made it clear in President Karzai's second administration that he will be held to a standard that really requires him to attack these problems that we know have existed for a long period of time. He has committed to doing that. We participate and watch very closely who the appointees are that he makes for the very important positions, the cabinet and so on. Our judgment is that so far things are better in that regard.

On Afghans' destiny: Having been down in the region where these operations are taking place, and having visited the Afghan army training centers and talking to our commanders, both national and international on the ground, there is a new sense of confidence and optimism that we can, in fact, do what we say we are going to do, simply because the Afghans themselves. As a result of the timelines that I think the president has laid down, [they] have a sense of purpose now that this is their country, and this is their destiny that we are talking about, and we don't want Afghanistan to be a protectorate of the international community for the next couple years. We are looking for what is good enough to give the Afghans a chance to determine their own destiny. I think this operation is the kickoff, really, to that success story.

soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. Shams

    All these operations that has being taking together in Marjah , it is not suitable for Afghans success and peace .. Because first need to destroy the main roots of talibans rather than go for operation , because talibans are not emerged in a simple valley of Afghansitan or province.. we can fine taliban as well as alqaeda every where.. not only in afghanistan but also in many African , Asian , Americans countries ... !
    this kicks off operations mean kicking away an cattle of animal from one side to another sode of Afghanistan or out side like into Pakistan .
    I hope to see one day Afghanistan one day whole of peace , security and progress..!

    March 6, 2010 at 3:00 am | Report abuse |
  2. John

    General Jones has been smoking a bit of that fine Afghan opium, or perhaps the hashish.

    How do the US-NATO forces plan to stay in the area to do a little building? Will the soldiers turn in their weapons for hammers? Once the US troops leave, so will the Afghan troops, or else be driven out. There is no Karzai government infrastructure in support of these wish lists laid out by the General.

    On Karzai: it's clear at this point that the US doesn't like this guy because he occasionally threatens to act in Afghan rather than US interests, but there are no other horses in this race. The ambassador can talk to Hamid daily; Hamid will still be the President and the ambassador will still be the de facto ruler of Greater Kabul.

    On Afghan's destiny: Like it or not, the Taliban is the armed wing of the Pashtun ethnic group - the single largest group in Afghanistan at about 40% of the population. Neither the Taliban nor the Pashtuns will be disappearing or surrendering any time soon. For those who don't remember, this was a civil war when the US decided to invade, and the Tajik-Hazara-Other alliance was about to lose definitively to the Taliban, seeing as how they controlled just one tiny area in Northern Afghanistan. There is no military solution. There is no way to stability that includes keeping the Pashtun representatives out of government. For those that think it matters, think again. The Pashtuns and the Tajik-Hazara-Other opponents share the same backward social thinking and political ideology. The real issue in dispute is which ethnic group or coalition of ethnic groups will take primacy in ruling. Historically, it has been the Pashtun.

    This war could be ended on the following terms:

    1) US-Nato troops out in 12 months or less
    2) Karzai out
    3) India out (nothing against India, but the Pakistanis are supporting the Taliban for Pakistan's own strategic reasons, which include not having a pro-India state on its northern border
    4) Afghan political and military neutrality, guaranteed in a manner to be negotiated by regional states rather than the US-Nato coalition
    5) The ethnic groups negotiate a way to share power, and rotate power holding

    If you all don't like that, then there is another scenario. The US-NATO forces could assume the role of the Chinese Peoples Liberation Army in post WW II China. This means that the US-NATO troops take an area, execute the entire landlord class (mainly Pashtun, hence Taliban-oriented folk), decree debt peonage among the peasantry at an end, and engage in land distribution backed by massive infrastructure building. At the same time, the US-NATO troops make sure the political space exists for indigenous Afghan left-socialist-green-communist-feminist groupings, parties, and tendencies to operate and gain public support for the land reform being carried out, and for other actions aimed at social and political advancement for the Afghan people as a whole. If any of you think this will ever happen while the US-Nato forces are occupying Afghanistan, you too have been indulging in that Afghan opium or hashish.

    February 24, 2010 at 12:55 am | Report abuse |
  3. AkintayoNG

    Hello John,you have said it all and that is the gospel truth.The government should do something to alleviate the suffering condition of these Afghans.Their condition is so pathetic that some urgent attention should be directed to putting an end to it.It is then we can talk of integrating them into a decent and peaceful society.It is happening all over even in my country Nigeria where the Polce,the civil-servants,the Legislators and virtually all the people including our Ministers are involved in one corruption or the other.May God help deliver us from these heartless leaders,who are making life unbearable for us in the midst of plenty.

    February 16, 2010 at 9:42 pm | Report abuse |
  4. david shargel

    a real success story......yeah right.

    February 16, 2010 at 7:21 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Nathanael [desert voice]

    I would like to say many things, but won't say much. I am a servant of God, not a "nation-building architect." I wish well Afghanistan, though, why shouldn't I? I see new era coming in that area, without Taliban. It's for the Afghans to take advantage. There should be some economic incentive, besides moral, when nations help other nations. There should be more freedom of religion guaranted. The Afghans should play this card right, taking advantage of an opportunity once in a lifetime!

    February 16, 2010 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Ona

    We should get out. There is nothing there to fight for.

    February 15, 2010 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
  7. John Taylor

    re: post number 4 john from Florida. One hundred percent agree , hopefully more people open there eyes and understand this.

    February 15, 2010 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  8. devis

    Re: Gideon D.
    Lets hope for the best and wish all these new Ideas must come to alive!!!
    devis Sri lanka

    February 14, 2010 at 11:17 pm | Report abuse |
  9. devis

    It is well written by Jhon Florida. it is a wake up call and I hope the others will understand the truth in it and follow the track

    February 14, 2010 at 11:06 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Gideon D.

    RE. John N Florida- I'd agree with everything you're saying. By treating the people there as human beings, whatever their differences in appearance and religion, we have a better chance of improving their lives. Then their culture will change, as life will be seen as something precious to be preserved, with opportunities on the horizon worth fighting for. I see the reason for corruption in such places as part of the severe scarcity of resources- if there is only a small cake, people fight over it. Starting to meet the people's basic needs would make this a thing of the past (hopefully).

    In terms of the Wall Street comparisons, I think anyone can see in this the human failings that may look different in various societies but amount to the same thing. Winning gat the cost of your opponent is a short-lived, pyrrhic victory. When you allow a group of people to think they are above any kind of law, like Afghan officials or the city bankers, it's a recipe for disaster that affects the whole society. Why not have some overseers there that have the power to fire corrupt police? Even so, the basic security issue needs to be resolved before any decent authority can operate there.

    So far, the failure of our efforts can be related to our own top brass being lazy to build on the initial trust we receive. The skills to help rebuild a nation are totally different from those used in capturing it. They are also a lot less news-worthy. Until recently, I sensed a certain egotism, in this addiction to activities that garner more attention whilst necessary ones go undone. The kind of speeches we are seeing now seem to take the needs of the Afghan people more seriously and aim at healing the patient (poor, unstable living conditions), rather than just suppressing his symptoms (Taliban and their sympathisers, corrupt officials).

    February 14, 2010 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Dan Nelson Lafayette,IN

    Hey John in Florida a true Christian puts Jesus first in their lives and then others before themselves. So the Christians that you are talking about don't have their priorities in the right place. They put their money and their own happiness before others!

    February 14, 2010 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
  12. John N Florida

    Let's keep religion out of this. Even if you could kill all the Taliban, the Afghan people are still predominately Muslim.
    If we're invited in to the Pakistani tribal areas, which I don't see happening, it would have to be in an advisory capacity only. The Pakistanis are very jealous of their autonomy, just like we are.
    We'll get bin Laden at some point. We should have had him at Tora Bora, but G. W. didn't put enough resources in to the fight there. Then he took us all on a little side trip to Iraq and TOTALLY lost sight of why we went to Afghanistan in the first place.
    The key to winning this fight is to get the Muslims in the area to see that killing themselves to serve bin Laden is a futile effort. One similarity to Viet Nam is how you go about winning the people's allegiance. We try to do that with the carrot. The Taliban / al Quida do it with the stick, named Sharia Law.
    We have to convince them that they will get a reliable security/peace keeping force that will stay in place after the Americans leave. Our track record ain't so hot in that area.
    The Afghan police are corrupt from top to bottom. Their worst abuses are practiced against the people they're supposed to be providing security for. How much trust would you put in cops who are as bad as the bad guys?
    The abuses are grounded either in greed or in religion.
    They don't have a corner on that market. We Christians have a pretty poor record ourselves.
    You only have to look at Wall Street to see where we stand on Greed.

    February 14, 2010 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Bob jone denver,co

    That is very interesting

    February 14, 2010 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  14. devis

    General James Jones has given a good suggestion.So the Afganistan civilians can have a safe ground. At the same time it is better if the government speed up the work to improve their own military forces to take care of the land and the people.As we are seeing it is happening now ,., all the peace loving people must give support and blessings to make Afganistan a better place .

    February 14, 2010 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Dan Nelson Lafayette,IN

    I think that taking out the Taliban(an anti-Christ organization)is a good thing for Afghanistan but what about binLaden and Zawahiri his right hand man? Are we going to kill or capture them by July 2011? This is the reason why we went into Afghanistan! We should also have an operation in Pakistan's tribal areas in northwestern Pakistan to kill as many Pakistani Taliban which most probably where binLaden and Zawahiri are hiding!

    February 14, 2010 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |