Grim Appraisal in Afghanistan

Gen. Petraeus Warns of 'Downward Spiral' in Afghanistan

The national security team in Afghanistan gave a grim assessment of the war in Afghanistan today, pointing to the growing strength of the Taliban and the long, difficult struggle ahead.

CENTCOM commander Gen. David Petraeus, a long time advocate of the proposed military surge in Afghanistan, warned of a “downward spiral of security,” declaring that security “has deteriorated markedly in the past two years.” The general’s solution to this was, unsurprisingly, a military surge, combined with a “surge in civilian capacity” and an escalation in the drug war, something that will likely make NATO Supreme Commander General Craddock very happy.

The German government, on the other hand, wishes that the mission would focus less on the military aspect and more on the reconstruction effort. Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung said more of an emphasis should be made to reducing the number of civilian casualties in Afghanistan, long a complaint of the Karzai government.

The situation in Afghanistan has been deteriorating for months, and the 2008 death toll was the worst since the 2001 invasion. A draft of the National Intelligence Estimate in October likewise warned of a “downward spiral” in Afghanistan.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of