December 8th, 2009
04:16 PM ET
11 months ago

McChrystal: Finding bin Laden vital to beating al Qaeda

Gen. Stanley McChrystal spoke before members of Congress Tuesday about the outlook in Afghanistan.
Gen. Stanley McChrystal spoke before members of Congress Tuesday about the outlook in Afghanistan.

Washington (CNN) - Finding al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and rolling back a resurgent Taliban are necessary steps toward winning the war in Afghanistan, the top U.S. commander there told a Senate committee Tuesday.

Bin Laden remains at large more than eight years after the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington that triggered the Afghan war, and is widely believed to be hiding along the rugged border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan,
said the world's most wanted terrorist is "an iconic figure" whose survival "emboldens al Qaeda as a franchising organization across the world."

"It would not defeat al Qaeda to have him captured or killed, but I don't think we can finally defeat al Qaeda until he is finally captured or killed," McChrystal told the Senate Armed Services Committee. But he said if bin Laden is hiding across the border, "It is outside of my mandate."

In addition, he said, pushing back the Taliban - which allowed al Qaeda to operate from Afghanistan before 9/11 - is a "prerequisite" for destroying the terrorist network.

"To pursue our core goal of defeating al Qaeda and preventing their return to Afghanistan, we must disrupt and degrade the Taliban's capacity, deny their access to the Afghan population, and strengthen the Afghan security forces," he said.

Full story

Updated: 4:16 p.m.


Filed under: Afghanistan • Stanley McChrystal
soundoff (64 Responses)
  1. Joe M

    How this weasel ever got promoted to 4 star general has to be the mystery of the century..He is the least capable general in the U.S. Army. He has a reputation he can not live down..He would not make a good 2nd LT.. It is all about him he loves what he sees in the mirror just like his boss.

    December 8, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  2. P Adams Jr

    What does "successful" mean? Making a teleprompterfied speech about what? Obama already told the terrorists how to win, simply by laying low for a couple of years. Then, Obama's teleprompterfied speech will claim "success" and then the terrorists will be back in force as soon as we evacuate the place. What fools in DC, and what fools in the US to believe anything Obama says (including McChrystal).

    December 8, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  3. Ohio dude

    I cannot believe the number of numbskulls that have totally forgot about 9-11!

    I hope leaders allow our troops to perform. It was absolutely insane to set a deadline of 2011. All the enemy has to do is hide and hold on... Obama needs to attend some Stratery and tactics courses at the War College on weekends.... At least he knows how to salute.

    December 8, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  4. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Notice to Karzai letting him know Bush's plan of paying him and staying forever was the first thing about getting it right. Anyone who agrees with Karzai's statement that we need to be patience needs their head examined because it's clear Karzai prefers Bush's plan.

    December 8, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  5. elviejo

    Oh? Has he checked with the locals. By critical does he mean he will have learned the local language. I think he ought to have a talk with Harmid Karzai before he makes any other prognostications. For our "dear puppet" says it will be 5-10 years BEFORE the uh, Afghan security forces will be, uh, a reliable fighting force. Too bad i wont be around when he writes in his memoirs that uh, "mistakes were made."

    December 8, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  6. JIM FAWCETT

    When's the last time anyone ever heard a general saying that we are going to be 'unsuccessful' heading into battle? Even Custer thought he would be victorious.

    December 8, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  7. sine

    The presiden't didn't "nickle and dime" the general out of any troops. The president had a sense of mind to get the troop numbers he needed by making sure that our allies also contributed troops!!! That's how you are supposed to do it!!! Must the full troop levels ALL be american? Think before you speak!!!

    December 8, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  8. sine

    I didn't hear the republicans or even democrats questioning patreus when he gave his assesment or recommendation on a wrongful war in iraq. What now republicans want the general to say that we are going to fail?? SMH

    December 8, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  9. Pete

    To the "get out of the way of the generals" crowd, I have a question for you:

    The Constitution specifically places control of the military in CIVILIAN hands. Why are you conservatives so eager to overturn that?

    December 8, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  10. MARKPAIN

    This backwoods country has fought off invaders(with help from other countries) since before there was a United States of America so don`t think we will have it easy there. Now why didn`t the gop win the war before going to Iraq. They controlled both houses then and the military was not stretched thin plus we had willing allies. US forces alone could`ve made set an example in Afghanistan for any and all would dare attack us.( See Russia vs Georgia) for example

    December 8, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  11. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    We better be General...

    December 8, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  12. Tino

    All please remember the General reports to the President not the President report to the General. General McCrystal reports to the Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff and the Chairman reports to the Secretary of Defense. The General is an adviser not a policy maker. We in the military only carry out orders that are within the law giving to us from our civilian leaders. Why it is the same people who are voting against health care here in the United States is the same people push for more troops in Afghanistan. We need to take care of our own before we take care of other. We can spend millions on war but not on health care but the American people are the ones who pay the taxes.

    December 8, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  13. garysgary

    I've got news for everyone. Only two things can happen for the US...loose and loose worse. The cost is already far e beyond ANY benefits we will ever get. These two wars were fought to protect Isreal..neither war was for US benefit.

    December 8, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  14. mike

    thanks to obama there is only 30,000 troops instead of 40,000 I am glad
    to see that he got the other countries to contribute the 10,000 troops
    that are needed thats the difference between a democrat and a republican they take there time and use there brain for a solid solution
    not army 101

    December 8, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
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