Senior American military official General Joseph Dunford reports that if Pakistan and Afghanistan fail to maintain the security of their borders, then al-Qaida could return to power and plan another 9/11-style attack on the West.
On Thursday, General Dunford, commander of American and allied forces in Afghanistan, attended a hearing before the Senate Committee for Armed Services. During the hearing, the general informed the committee that military officials and President Barack Obama didn’t necessarily agree with one another on the 2014 deadline for withdrawal from Afghanistan. As the U.S. Marine Corps’ next commandant, General Dunford informed the committee during his hearing that success in Afghanistan depends on Pakistan’s own desire to eradicate and crack down on terrorists within its borders.
According to General Dunford, some victories have been achieved by Pakistan against the TTP (Tehrik-E-Taliban); however, the nation has been unsuccessful and unfocused on the Haqqani network operating freely within its borders. When asked about compromises and agreements between Afghanistan and Pakistan, Dunford urged the need for both to work together and warned that if both nations failed to do so, it would be possible for al-Qaida to return.
After initially hinting at his support for the withdrawal timetable set by President Obama, General Dunford disclosed some discrepancies after questioning from Senator John McCain. General Dunford explained that American commanders did not agree to a specific fixed date. He stated that the current and future situation on the ground is what should be the ultimate determining factor, not a deadline. He went on to explain how such announcements and plans benefit the enemy and, according to General Dunford, already have. The general claimed that by giving a deadline, the enemy was informed that external forces would no longer be present.
Keep in mind that according to the plan proposed by President Obama, all forces would leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014, with the exception of 10,000 soldiers. Afterward, there would only be 5,000 remaining halfway into 2015. Furthermore, all forces remaining in 2016 and onward would only remain to aid Afghan security forces. General Dunford went on to express to the committee his lack of confidence in the Afghan forces to maintain peace and security following the withdrawal.