Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Mikhail Gorbachev, the former leader of the Soviet Union, has a message for NATO and President Barack Obama: that victory in Afghanistan is “impossible.”
Mr. Gorbachev said the U.S. has no alternative but to withdraw its forces if it wanted to avoid another Vietnam. As Soviet leader, he pulled his troops out of Afghanistan more than 20 years ago after a 10-year war.
In an interview with the BBC Moscow correspondent Steve Rosenberg, Mr. Gorbachev said:
“Victory is impossible in Afghanistan. Obama is right to pull the troops out. No matter how difficult it will be.”
He said before the Soviet Union withdrew from Afghanistan, an agreement had been reached with Iran, India, Pakistan and the U.S.
Mr. Gorbachev offered this perspective:
“We hoped America would abide by the agreement that we reached that Afghanistan should be a neutral, democratic country, that would have good relations with its neighbours and with both the U.S. and the USSR. [But] the Americans always said they supported this, but at the same time they were training militants – the same ones who today are terrorising Afghanistan and more and more of Pakistan.”
He went on to add:
“But what’s the alternative – another Vietnam? Sending in half-a-million troops? That wouldn’t work.”
The best that NATO can hope to achieve, according to Mr. Gorbachev is to help the country get back on its feet and rebuild itself after the conclusion of the war.