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Pentagon report on Afghanistan criticizes war strategy
AFP
April 4, 2004

WASHINGTON (AFP) - A retired army colonel commissioned by the Pentagon (news - web sites) to examine the war in Afghanistan (news - web sites) concluded the conflict created conditions that have given "warlordism, banditry and opium production a new lease on life."

Retired Army Colonel Hy Rothstein, who served in the Army Special Forces for more than 20 years, wrote in a military analysis he gave to the Pentagon in January that the US failed to adapt to new conditions created by the Taliban's collapse, The New Yorker magazine reported.

"The failure to adjust US operations in line with the post-Taliban change in theater conditions cost the United States some of the fruits of victory and imposed additional, avoidable humanitarian and stability costs on Afghanistan," Rothstein wrote in the report.

"Indeed, the war's inadvertent effects may be more significant than we think."

The military should have used Special Forces to adapt to new conditions, Rothstein wrote.

The war "effectively destroyed the Taliban but has been significantly less successful at being able to achieve the primary policy goal of ensuring that al Qaeda could no longer operate in Afghanistan," he wrote.

The Pentagon returned the report to Rothstein with a request he cut it drastically and soften his conclusions, the magazine reported.

"There may be a kernel of truth in there, but our experts found the study rambling and not terribly informative," Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Joseph Collins told The New Yorker.

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