The commander of U.S. and ISAF forces in Afghanistan, U.S. General Stanley McChrystal, visited Ottawa Wednesday to discuss Afghanistan strategy with Canadian Chief of Defence Staff General Walt Natynczyk and other officials. He also made a speech at an event sponsored by the Conference of Defence Associations Institute.
McChrystal gave an optimistic assessment of the conflict in Afghanistan, telling reporters that he expects Taliban momentum to be reversed sufficiently for foreign forces to begin pulling out by the middle of 2011. (Canada is currently scheduled to begin pulling out in July 2011, and U.S. forces are also supposed to begin reducing their numbers by that date.)
McChrystal also commented on the treatment of Afghan prisoners. While claiming not to know the specifics of the controversy surrounding Canadian transfers of Afghan detainees, he called for “a zero tolerance policy on mistreatment of prisoners or anybody” in order to “maintain the credibility of the government of Afghanistan and coalition forces”.
Among other topics discussed, it is likely that McChrystal and Natynczyk discussed possible future roles of the Canadian forces in Afghanistan after the end of the mission in Kandahar.