Pentagon Rewrites Goal of Afghanistan Surge

Original goal: Push back Taliban. New goal: Prepare Afghan military


The Afghanistan troop surge is almost over. But before it ends on October 1, U.S. and NATO military officials are retroactively redefining its goals. Once it was about blunting the momentum of the Taliban. The new line is that it was about getting the Afghan military prepared to take over the country.

As he returned from a trip to Turkey on Tuesday, Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the point of the surge was to "buy us some time to push back on some Taliban initiatives" and "to buy us some space to grow the Afghan security forces."

Echoing the chairman, Australian Brig. Gen. Roger Noble, a top NATO planning officer in Afghanistan, told Pentagon reporters Wednesday that the surge "effectively covered and enabled the training and fielding of the Afghan national security force" — an "amazing outcome" — and "directly delivered the time and space for the ANSF to stand up and assume the lead for the security of Afghanistan."