Interview with Lt. Gen. David Rodriguez

By Moreau, Ron | Newsweek, July 11, 2011 | Go to article overview

Interview with Lt. Gen. David Rodriguez


Moreau, Ron, Newsweek


Byline: Ron Moreau

With President Obama revealing his plans to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, the commander of 150,000 troops talks before his own withdrawal from the front.

Are the Afghan security forces and government up to the task of taking over as the U.S. military withdraws?

All they need is growing confidence that there's a better future ahead for them and their families. You have to give them the courage and confidence for them to stand up.

Do they have any advantages?

They know the ground. They have fought over these hills for years.

How do they feel about the U.S. presence in Afghanistan?

We're never going to understand the human terrain as well as they do. So you just have to ask them and listen. They know what they have to do to win this fight. They want to do it. It's their country. There are many Afghans here who are totally embarrassed that we are here. They want to do it themselves, but they know they can't right now.

What's going on with the Taliban?

They are no longer inside Kandahar City or in the key villages. They are around the edges. They are outside the tent. We have to continue to keep them isolated and separated from the people. …

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