Former US Commander Stanley McChrystal warns Afghanistan could descend into civil war when foreign troops leave

General Stanley McChrystal said that a civil war could be avoided if Afghanistan was backed by its allies

Afghanistan could slip back into civil war if it does not continue to receive support from the West following the withdrawal of most international troops this year, a former US commander in the country has warned.

General Stanley McChrystal described the prospect of renewed internal conflict as a “worst-case possibility” which could be avoided provided the Afghan government received the backing it needed from its allies.

“I don't think the Taliban have the strength to come in and take over Afghanistan and, clearly, I think the greatest danger is it would break out into violence, either in direct civil war or maybe multi-party fighting,” he told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme on Tuesday.

“But that is the unnecessary outcome, in my view. There is enough capacity in that country, and certainly enough ties that bind, to avoid that. But I think that would be a worst-case possibility.”

General McChrystal, who was the architect of the US troop “surge” in 2009 but later resigned after critical comments he made about the Obama administration were published by Rolling Stone magazine, said the Afghans needed reassurance that help would be there if it was required.

“I think they do need partners as they go forward though, so I hope that a security arrangement is reached where they get some levels of support from people who have been their allies over the last decade and a half,” he said.

“What you really want is a consistency of partnership and that is to maintain in the minds of the Afghan people that we are reliable long-term partners and that is going to take enough people to do certain tasks, to provide some logistic support, to provide advice, and also to be around as a representation that they are not alone.”

General McChrystal also expressed concern about the use by the Americans of unmanned drones to target leading Taliban figures.

While he acknowledged that they could be a highly effective weapon, he said it was important to consider their impact on the local population.

“There is a perception of arrogance, there is a perception of helpless people in an area being shot at like thunderbolts from the sky by an entity that is acting as though they have omniscience and omnipotence and you can create a tremendous amount of resentment inside populations,” he said.

PA

Read more: Foreigners targeted in Afghanistan blast as Labour MEP candidate Del Singh one of two Britons killed in Kabul attack which killed 21
Traumatised Afghan veteran jailed for killing 20-month-old daughter  

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Web Designer / Front End Developer

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast expanding web managem...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor