Commander disputes negative portrayal of Afghanistan war

“I'm confident that, in my personal view, that our outlook is accurate,” Scaparrotti said in a Pentagon press briefing.

Army Lt. Col. Daniel Davis wrote an article Monday in the Armed Forces Journal titled “Truth, Lies and Afghanistan” that attacks by the Taliban often go unanswered, Afghan troops are not well trained and they will likely be overrun once the United States leaves.

ADVERTISEMENT
“What I saw bore no resemblance to rosy official statements by U.S. military leaders about conditions on the ground,” Davis wrote about his tour of Afghanistan.

Davis’s article has galvanized the anti-war community, and critics of the war took to the House floor Wednesday to call on the United States to leave Afghanistan now, citing the report.

Scaparrotti said that he didn’t doubt Davis saw what he described, but said that he was “taking an individual incident there” and that the article didn't reflect the overall picture.

“I can go to units that are struggling,” he said. “There's no doubt about it. I can go to many that are doing quite well. We've got an Army and a police that we've doubled in size in 18 months. So you've got a diversity here.”

Scaparrotti said that Afghan security forces are increasingly taking the lead on security issues and training, something NATO is pushing for as U.S. troops draw down.

“Afghans conduct approximately 70 percent of the training on their own, Afghans training Afghans. These were all good indicators that they're on the right track,” Scaparrotti said. “I'm pressing commanders to put them into the lead as soon as they can. The earlier we get them into the lead, the better we have a metric of just how well they're doing.”

He said that the United States would begin sending advisory teams this year to train Afghan combat forces as the military heads toward a withdrawal at the end of 2014.