“The situation in Afghanistan is serious, but success is achievable and demands a revised implementation strategy, commitment and resolve, and increased unity of effort,” said Gen. Stanley McChrystal, commander of nearly 60,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. The assessment was made as part of a new strategic review McChrystal submitted Gen. David Petraeus, the head of Central Command, and to NATO.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates said he was looking forward to reading the report.
“While there’s a lot of doom and gloom going on, I think Gen. McChrystal’s assessment will be a realistic one,” Gates said told reporters while touring a Lockheed Martin facility in Texas.
Pentagon officials said that McChrystal’s report, which was not made public, does not ask for additional U.S. troops. But it could lay the ground work for such a request. The issue of adding American forces comes at a difficult time for Congress, where lawmakers are demanding concrete progress in Afghanistan within a year.
Gates said he has told the general to “be forthright in telling us what he needs to accomplish the mission,” but the Defense Secretary was noncommittal about whether more troops would be approved. “We will have to look at the availability of forces, we'll have to look at costs,” he said.
At the same time, Gates said he was very concerned about sending more equipment to Afghanistan to fight improvised explosive devices, the homemade bombs that have killed the majority of soldiers there in recent months.
Without providing details, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters: “There’s broad agreement that for many years our effort in Afghanistan has been under-resourced – politically, militarily, economically.”