NATO Commander Major General Mart de Kruif says that the Obama Administration’s 21,000 troop “surge” into Afghanistan is on schedule to be completed in time for the August elections. At one point forgotten as America’s other war, nearly eight years after the initial US invasion of the nation signs are that the government’s commitment to continuing the war in face of seemingly indefatigable insurgents and growing unrest among the local population is stronger than ever.
Visiting the Netherlands today, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates sought to use a visit to World War II era graves as a chance to press the nation’s NATO allies to observe World War II style unity in the conflict. Much of NATO has refused to commit additional troops to the seemingly endless war, despite administration pressures.
But the most telling aspect is the enormous collection of officers being picked by new US commander Lieutenant General McChrystal for the conflict. The 400-strong team will be committed to the war in Afghanistan for at least three more years, which is probably time for the administration to have to unveil at least two new major strategy changes given the war’s recent history.
2008 saw record levels of violence in Afghanistan, and nearly half-way through 2009 seems set to far surpass it. Officials have predicted that the surge will dramatically increase the amount of violence in Afghanistan and may also push militants into neighboring Pakistan, where they may destablize the already weakened government.