A Pentagon official says the U.S. war against terrorist targets in Afghanistan is moving according to plan. The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Richard Myers, spoke in Los Angeles Monday. He urged patience in the war on terrorism.
Gen. Myers told a forum sponsored by Town Hall Los Angeles that the war on terrorism is a long-term effort. "This operation is going according to the plan we had. Obviously, we're not going to be perfect. Obviously, we can't predict how every piece of this war is going to go. This is a very complex undertaking," Gen. Myers said.
Gen. Myers says the current campaign in Afghanistan is just one part of a broader assault on terrorist networks.
A key part of the Afghan campaign involves support for the opposition Northern Alliance. Gen. Myers was asked about news reports the Northern Alliance may not be prepared for a major offensive against the Taleban for another two months or more. He responded that the ground war may well be fought in winter, when conditions are difficult. "We are now dropping supplies to opposition forces, [including] ammunition, food, blankets and, importantly, winter clothing. I can guarantee you this. The opposition forces are going to be a lot better prepared to fight this winter than the Taleban," Gen. Myers said.
The U.S. official says humanitarian aid is an important part of the campaign in Afghanistan. He notes the U.S. military has already made air drops of more than one million rations of food for the Afghan people. He says more aid is coming. "In the future, we're looking at a wider effort. We know as winter comes on, that there are many internally displaced people and that's where the food needs to get to," Myers said. "It's a retail issue, not [a distribution problem]. These nongovernmental organizations have the food, but we've just got to get it to [the people]." Gen. Myers says the U.S. military can help with that effort.
The Pentagon official assumed his current post as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff October 1. He stopped in Los Angeles en route to Hawaii, where he will brief the military chiefs of Pacific nations and thank them for supporting the war on terrorism.