Feingold: Surging Where Al Qaeda Isn't

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aaafghanistanlarge_150One of the fiercest critics of the proposed surge of U.S. forces in Afghanistan warned on Sunday that the policy would distract America from the pursuit of global al Qaeda networks.

During an appearance on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.) demanded that one question be answered when considering the implementation of the president’s surge policy: Why send troops where al Qaeda isn’t?

     

Feingold: Afghanistan Surge = More Extremists to Pakistan

Democratic Senator Russ Feingold told me the President’s Afghanistan surge will make matters worse in Pakistan.  When I asked Feingold if the Taliban in Pakistan would be strengthened if they are not defeated in Afghanistan, here’s what he said:

FEINGOLD:  Well, it’s just the opposite.  You know, I asked the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mullen, and Mr. Holbrooke, our envoy over there, a while ago, you know, is there a risk that if we build up troops in Afghanistan, that will push more extremists into Pakistan?  They couldn’t deny it, and this week, Prime Minister Gilani of Pakistan specifically said that his concern about the buildup is that it will drive more extremists into Pakistan, so I think it’s just the opposite, that this boots-on-the-ground approach alienates the Afghan population and specifically encourages the Taliban to further coalesce with Al Qaida, which is the complete opposite of our national security interest.

Watch the complete exchange here:

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