McChrystal: US ‘Far From Goals’ in Afghanistan

Says NATO Lacks Understanding of Afghans

In comments to the Council of Foreign Relations, former US General Stanley McChrystal, who was forced to resign from commanding the Afghan War in 2010,insisted that the US remains “far” from reaching its military goals in the nation that it has now occupied for more than a decade.

McChrystal went on to say that he believes that the war is only around “half way there” to its military aims, and that efforts to create a functional, trusted government in Afghanistan could take much longer.

“We didn’t know enough and we still don’t know enough,” said McChrystal, who cautioned that the NATO still has only a “very superficial understanding of the situation” and “a frighteningly simplistic view of recent history.”

McChrystal’s year of command in the war was known primarily for his efforts to reduce the number of air strikes and night raids, and for the dramatic late 2009 escalation of the conflict. Though the efforts to reduce civilian deaths were somewhat successful, virtually all of his policy changes were reverted by his successor, Gen. David Petraeus, and the civilian toll is once again on a record pace.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.