General Petraeus announced that progress has been made in Afghanistan towards the goal (ensuring it never becomes a sanctuary for Al-Qaeda or other trans-national extremists) and lauds significant accomplishments made in 2010. However, he also says that there is more work to be done alongside of the Afghan government in 2011 and on up into 2014. General Petraeus predicts 2011 to be another tough year with the hopes that Afghan forces will be in the lead in Afghanistan by 2014.
However . . . corruption in the Afghan government has caused problems in the establishment and strength of the government. General Petraeus believes in order to reach their goal of (an Al-Qaeda hostile place), continued assistance must be given to Afghanistan in establishing a functioning government, difficult to do when inside corruption is present.
There was talk about troop withdrawals in July of this year (however one wonders exactly what was meant by that – merely a change in jobs, or actual troops coming home). Petraeus feels that significant gains have been made in the last year, “we’ve got our teeth in the enemy’s jugular now, and we’re not going to let go.”
Will the gradual change over from combat focused to government development and assistance bring any change to the number of troops in Afghanistan? Are they truly bringing soldier’s home or simply changing the focus? What is best in the long-term for our country?