Washington (CNN) - On the eve of the latest White House Afghanistan update, the incoming head of the House Armed Services Committee said he wants to hear directly from the commander, Gen. David Petraeus, to determine what progress has been made.
Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon, R-California, who next month will take over as chairman of the defense committee, said Wednesday he will ask Petraeus to testify.
(CNN) – The commanding U.S. general in Afghanistan says success in the war there will require a long and steady U.S. commitment.
"We will have an enduring commitment here in some fashion," Gen. David Petraeus said in an interview broadcast Sunday on the NBC program "Meet the Press."
He later added: "I think this is going require a substantial, significant commitment and that it is going to have to be enduring to some degree."
The Obama administration has been criticized for its announced strategy to start a troop withdrawal in August 2011, with conservatives saying it signals U.S. intentions to the enemy while liberals complain it doesn't end the war soon enough.
Washington (CNN) – One of the key goals of the new commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David Petraeus, is to try to settle the debate on the significance of the July 2011 date, according to an International Security Assistance Force official familiar with Petraeus' thinking.
After a month in the job, during which he stayed mostly out of public view, the general is preparing a round of interviews with media outlets.
July 2011 is the date President Barack Obama has set to begin reducing the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. But just what that will mean continues to be a question that the administration is struggling to answer clearly.
Gen. David Petraeus, pictured here meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, told troops in the war torn country that "The decisive terrain is the human terrain. The people are the center of gravity."
(Photo Credit: Getty Images/File)
(CNN) - Fight the Taliban "relentlessly." Don't tolerate corruption. Drink "lots of tea" with the locals.
Those admonitions are among the two dozen guidelines for counterinsurgency warfare that Gen. David Petraeus issued to U.S. and allied troops in Afghanistan on Sunday. In his first major public pronouncement since taking command in early July, Petraeus urged American troops and the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force to learn and adapt to the culture of Afghanistan while battling the Taliban insurgents and their allies.
"The decisive terrain is the human terrain," Petraeus wrote. "The people are the center of gravity. Only by providing them security and earning their trust and confidence can the Afghan government and ISAF prevail."
Petraeus led the 2007-2008 campaign to stabilize Iraq after years of insurgent and sectarian warfare following the U.S. invasion of 2003. Some of the steps he took there - ordering troops to work in closely with local allies in outposts close to the people, patrol on foot and without sunglasses and cultivate ties with the local population - are included in Sunday's four-page order.
"Earn the people's trust, talk to them, ask them questions and learn about their lives," he wrote. Coalition troops should be "a good guest," learn the local history and "make sure you have the full story."
"Don't be a pawn in someone else's game," he wrote. "Spend time, listen, consult and drink lots of tea."
In a speech, Petraeus said NATO's strategy in Afghanistan had not changed.
"We must help Afghan leaders develop their security forces and governance capacity so that they can, over time, take on the tasks of securing their country and see to the needs of their people," he said. "And, in performing these tasks, we clearly must pursue the insurgents relentlessly."
Petraeus said the war had reached a "critical moment."
"We must demonstrate to the Afghan people, and to the world, that al Qaeda and its network of extremist allies will not be allowed to once again establish sanctuaries in Afghanistan from which they can launch attacks on the Afghan people and on freedom-loving nations around the world," he said.
Washington (CNN) - The Senate vote 99-0 Wednesday to confirm Gen. David Petraeus as the new commander of U.S. military forces in Afghanistan.
Petraeus was named by President Barack Obama to replace Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who was relieved of his duties last week after the general and his staff were quoted in a Rolling Stone magazine article criticizing and mocking key administration officials.
(CNN) – The Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday approved the nomination of Gen. David Petraeus to be the top commander in Afghanistan.
The nomination now heads to the full Senate.
(CNN) – A Senate committee hearing on Gen. David Petraeus, picked by President Barack Obama to be the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, was marked Tuesday by bickering over Obama's plan to begin withdrawing troops in July 2011.
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Michigan, stressed the date's importance, saying it "imparts a sense of urgency to Afghan leaders" and is an important method of "spurring action." When the date was announced, Levin said, there was a surge in recruits for the Afghan army.
But Arizona Sen. John McCain, the ranking Republican on the committee, said Obama should make clear that any U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan will be determined "solely by conditions on the ground."
Potential allies are less willing to back the U.S. mission in Afghanistan because they believe American troops will leave in July 2011, he said, and announcing a date to begin troop withdrawals is making the war "harder" and "longer." The "facts on the ground" suggest more time is needed, McCain said.
Washington (CNN) – The planned withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan in 2011, along with with concerns over the progress of the counterinsurgency plan in a country described as a place "where empires go to die," will be front and center at Gen. David Petraeus' confirmation hearings Tuesday.
Petraeus was tapped by President Obama to replace Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who was relieved of his duties last week after the general and his staff were quoted in a Rolling Stone magazine article criticizing and mocking key administration officials.
But it's not just those comments that are making news - it's also conditions on the ground in Afghanistan.
9 YEARS LATER…
Since he’s Director of the CIA, we should have expected Leon Panetta to be inscrutable in sizing up the situation in Afghanistan.
EG: “We are making progress.”
“I think the Taliban obviously is engaged in greater violence right now.”
“In some ways, they’re stronger, but in some ways they’re weaker…”
That settles that.
As the Senate Armed Services Committee prepares to vet the nomination of Gen. David Petraeus to be the new commander in Afghanistan, panel member Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) warned that the situation in Afghanistan is so difficult, the U.S. could win militarily and “still have a very ugly victory.”
Basically, it just doesn’t sound good.