Gen. Wesley Clark: End approaching at Konduz
UPDATE: In Konduz, based on all press reporting, there will need to be a few more days to continue to squeeze, with close-in targeting and possibly some ground probes that will put maximum pressure on the Taliban who are there, and the al Qaeda network. In the long run, I think you'll see most of them surrender -- the long run being a few days. There may be a few holdouts who fight to the end.
TACTICS: We will see more close-in air support. We'll probably see AC-130s overhead because as we get closer into the cities, it's the AC-130s that are going to be required to do the kind of work that needs to be done there -- more precise and more targeted against personnel.
We want to keep pressure on Kandahar as well. Until we get the Taliban broken there is a base of support and a potential communications channel inside Afghanistan for Osama bin Laden.
And then the third area is we want to strengthen the sealing of the border, so if he's still there, there's less and less chance that he's going to escape successfully. And then it's just a matter of tightening the net, step by step. And that'll be looking for caves, sending search parties out, using information that's sifted through from defectors and captured documents.
You're looking at a several days' problem -- but not months long -- to cover that whole area. We're not going to permit Osama bin Laden to get away. He's going to have to stand justice.
STRATEGY: I think we need to be looking at what's going on with respect to a U.N. peacekeeping force. Apparently the Northern Alliance has told the British and the French they're not interested, and so they've been told not to come in.
This is Afghanistan. This is the first time in my knowledge that anyone has rebuffed an offer of troops like this in a critical time. So it's strong testimony to the desire of the Afghans to run their own show. It's also been a source of some concern, recognizing that there could be no international capability there other than what the U.S. has, which is very light.
So I think that's very significant. Other countries in the region would be even less likely to be welcomed, like the Pakistanis or the Indians or the Chinese or the Russians. I think that Turkey is a question mark. They're the next most likely to come, but their troops haven't gone yet. I think they're still waiting to find out how to get in there and what needs to be done.
It may not mean anything bad, but it means that if there's a problem, there's no fallback. In the case of a problem assembling a government, you're back to the warlordism that was so devastating after the Soviets left.
U.S. Army Gen. Wesley Clark (ret.), a former NATO supreme commander, U.S. Army Maj. Gen. David Grange (ret.) and Air Force Maj. Gen. Don Shepperd (ret.) are serving as CNN military analysts during the war against terror. Their briefings will appear daily on CNN.com.
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