US Afghanistan policy not working: French general

Gen. Vincent Desportes, head of France

From AFPVincent Desportes, head of France’s elite Interforces Defence College, told Le Monde newspaper that the strategy employed by former US war commander in Afghanistan, US general Stanley McChrystal, had failed to produce results.

"The situation is worse than ever," he said.

"The traditional counter-insurgency doctrine, as employed by McChrystal for a year, with restrained use of firepower, air and artillery attacks to reduce collateral damage, does not seem to be working.

"If the McChrystal doctrine is not working or is not accepted, it would be good to review the strategy," argued the French general, calling for the pullout of US troops to be deferred past the planned date of July 2011. …

Desportes also criticised Obama’s decision, announced in December, to send some 30,000 extra troops to Afghanistan.

"Everyone knows it has to be either zero or 100,000 soldiers," he said, adding: "One does not fight half wars."

UPDATE, from AFPFrench general scolded for slamming US Afghan strategy

His comments were condemned by the French military’s chief of staff Edouard Guillaud on Friday, who described them as "irresponsible" coming from a French general, while French troops were serving in the Afghanistan mission. …

Guillaud said on Europe 1 radio: "It is an ill-timed comment and I would call it irresponsible because it comes from someone who is on active service and who therefore has credibility."

He said he would summon Desportes "to come and explain himself."  (photo: French Ministry of Defense)

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