In a taped speech intended to be aired tomorrow, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates blamed the lack of more US and NATO troops in Afghanistan for the growing momentum of the Taliban, chiding NATO nations in particular for their small commitments to the ongoing conflict.
The comments come as the Obama Administration is mulling a commitment of another 45,000 troops to the war effort, and inexplicably enough the same day that Secretary Gates chastized others in the administration for making public their positions on the proposed escalation.
Gates cautioned that the US could not afford to ever retreat from the nation, saying it would empower al-Qaeda and give the appearance that the mujahideen had defeated a second superpower after a decade-long occupation.
Whatever it would look like internationally, it seems apparent that eight years of occupation, as with the Soviets, has done little to strengthen pro-invasion forces in the nation and has rather riled up a growing number of people opposed to the ongoing presence of foreign forces. Though it seems hard to imagine that any number of additional troops is going to make the presence more palatable, the White House has ruled out even considering withdrawing from the nation.