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Regime change a mistake in Afghanistan, wrong move in Syria also: Canadian general

Rather than overthrow the Taliban, western allies should have focused instead on Al Qaeda, according to a retired Canadian general who led NATO forces in Afghanistan in 2006.

“We thought, naively, that regime change was the solution to the problem, retired major-general Dave Fraser said in an interview with journalist Murray Brewster of the Canadian Press. “…Looking backwards, I would have actually left the Taliban government in power and said (to them): ‘Stay out of the way. We’re here to find Al Qaeda.”

It was a mistake which the allies repeated in Iraq and later on in Libya and the reason why the west is “not pushing for a regime change in Syria,” he said.


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Fraser was commander of the Multinational Brigade for Regional Command South in Afghanistan’s southern provinces in 2006. He took over from U.S. Gen. Karl Eikenberry on February 2006 and served in that capacity until October 2006. Apart from this, he also commanded Canadian and international troops in Bosnia, Cyprus and other parts of the world.

After his retirement, Fraser joined INKAS Armoured Vehicle Manufacturing as a member of its board of directors.

At the time he commanded in Afghanistan the west was four-and-a-half years into the Afghan war and three years into the conflict in Iraq after Saddam Hussein was deposed.

Fraser said the Al Qaeda was the reason the allies were in Afghanistan in the first place, not the Taliban.

His comments come as the Afghanistan government is about to resume talks with Taliban leaders next week in Pakistan.

Read the whole story here

Author: Nestor Arellano

Nestor Arellano is editor of Vanguard Magazine. Nestor is a seasoned journalist who has written extensively on defence and military industry issues as well as technology and business developments. He is also associate editor of Vanguard's sister publication, IT in Canada.

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1 Comment

  1. This paper illustrated that the west has not have a good strategy to deal with political realism of the Middle East. In this case, Major – General Dave Fraser claims that the western power should target Al – Qaede and not Taliban in Afghanistan. According to him, the balance of power was shifted from one fanatic force to another force. In fact, when the allied forces hunt down the Taliban fighters, the allied forces empowered the Al – Qaede forces to become a legitimate force in the Afghanistan. Obviously, Afghan peoples joined the Al – Qaede to fight the Taliban.

    Therefore, the central government remained weak to the Al – Qaede forces. The central government never established itself as an authoritarian figure for the state of Afghanistan, and now the elected leaders are appearing as puppets of the western back powers. This is what went wrong, and not what Major – General Dave Fraser says.

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