In an interview today with CBS, Admiral Michael Mullen said that the international occupation forces have driven the Taliban and al-Qaeda out of Afghanistan and that they have “now moved, for the most part, to Pakistan.”
The comments are in keeping with administration reports on al-Qaeda, including CIA Director Leon Panetta’s assessment, in June, that no more than 50-100 al-Qaeda members are even in Afghanistan.
However it does damage to the Obama Administration’s claims, which have been made as recently as an interview with President Obama broadcast this morning, that the Afghan War continues to be entirely about al-Qaeda.
During the interview Admiral Mullen also shrugged off the record US death toll in Afghanistan in July, noting that he and a number of other top military officials had predicted that the situation would continue to worsen.
While this is certainly the case, one cannot help but also notice that Mullen and others have also told a starkly different tale to Congress of a war which is (and has been for years) on the cusp of “progress,” claims that have convinced Congress to continue funding the war at ever increasing levels.