Monday, September 5, 2011

"U.S. must stay in Afghanistan or risk more 9/11-style attacks"

The United States must keep fighting the Taliban or risk more attacks like those of September 11, 2001, because the insurgent group is a ruthless enemy that has not cut ties to al Qaeda, the U.S. ambassador to Kabul said.

Ryan Crocker, a career diplomat who was ambassador in Iraq, also warned the United States would have to spend billions more in the coming years to bolster Afghanistan's government and security forces as its own troops prepare to return home.

"What we have to do is I think demonstrate the strategic patience that is necessary to win a long war," he told Reuters, in an interview ahead of the 10th anniversary of the attacks.

"It is going to require more resources, its going to require time. I hope we can bring all those to bear, because as hard, painful, as expensive as this has been in blood and treasure, it has cost a lot less than 9/11 did."

Crocker flew into New York early on the morning of September 11, 2001, and saw the twin towers of the World Trade Center collapse as he drove into Manhattan after landing.

He has carried his boarding pass from that flight around the world with him, to a decade of senior positions at the heart of the conflicts that followed in the wake of the attacks. more