General Mattis: Afghan Troop Deadline Gives Taliban ‘Reason for Optimism’


Retired Marine Gen. James Mattis and other former military officials are criticizing the president's 2016 deadline to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, according to the New York Times.

Mattis said the announced troop withdrawal was poor foreign policy and gave the enemy something to look forward to.

"When you set a deadline, you give the enemy a reason for optimism, and in foreign policy, we should be reticent at telling our adversaries in advance what we will not do," Gen. Mattis said.

Other former officials said that Afghanistan will not be prepared for a full withdrawal of U.S. presence by 2016.

David S. Sedney, a former deputy assistant of defense who served as the Pentagon’s point person for Afghanistan until he left the government last year, said that cutting back the American advisory effort so quickly could lead to trouble on several fronts.

"The consequences are not just that the Afghan forces are going to fight less well," Mr. Sedney said. "They are going to take more casualties. They are going to commit more human rights abuses."

He added, "The president’s language that this will bring the war to a responsible end is just wrong."

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