Ex-chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff says it’s hard to gauge progress in Afghan war

By Anne Gearan, AP
Sunday, September 19, 2010

Former top officer unsure whether US is winning

WASHINGTON — Once the nation’s highest-ranking military officer and later secretary of state, Colin Powell says he doesn’t know whether the U.S. is winning in Afghanistan.

Powell says that although generals claim progress as they move into new territory, it’s hard to tell if the Taliban is really being defeated or merely moving from one place to another.

Powell endorsed President Barack Obama’s strategy to triple the number of U.S. forces. But he calls the government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai a weak base for the military campaign.

Powell says the generals are asking for more time but that it’s not clear that Obama will give it to them. Obama has said he will begin withdrawing US forces next summer.

Powell appeared Sunday on NBC’s “Meet The Press.”

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