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Afghanistan can become Obama’s Vietnam: Clinton

If the US President attempts to do what the British and the Russians did in the past,then Afghanistan could become 'Barack Obama's Vietnam',but it is unlikely to happen,former president Bill Clinton has said.

Written by Agencies | Washington | Published: February 18, 2009 1:12 pm

If the US President attempts to do what the British and the Russians did in the past,then Afghanistan could become ‘Barack Obama’s Vietnam’,but it is unlikely to happen,former president Bill Clinton has said.

“If President Obama were to do what the British tried to do in the 19th century and literally control the country,or what the Russians did into the 1980s,trying to,have a puppet government and then send the whole Russian Army in there to fight,it could become Vietnam,” Clinton told Larry King of the CNN in an interview.

“But I don’t expect that to happen,” Clinton said when asked if Afghanistan has the potential to become Obama’s Vietnam. “In theory,it could happen. But I don’t think so. I think what they mean is that Afghanistan has often been a sinkhole for other country’s aspirations,that it is big,tough terrain,rugged people and impossible to control the borders,” he said.

“He’s (Obama) got perhaps our smartest General,Gen Petraeus,and our most successful diplomat in the modern era,Dick (Richard) Holbrooke,working together to craft a military and diplomatic strategy,strongly supported by (Secretary of State) Hillary (Clinton) and Secretary (of Defence Robert) Gates,” Clinton said.

Holbrooke,the Special US Envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan was recently in the region visiting Afghanistan,Pakistan and India to listen to the view of the leaders of these countries.

Clinton said the leadership of the Obama Administration knows what the risks are in Afghanistan.

“But they believe the risks of non-involvement,losing the Afghan democracy,having the Taliban come back in and institute the most repressive government in modern history against women and little girls,giving free reign to the Afghan — Al Qaeda,all over Afghanistan — those risks are far greater,” he said.

“So I think that they’ll be smart. I think they learned some lessons in Iraq. And I believe they’ve got a reasonable chance to succeed and no alternative but to try,” Clinton said.

The former US president said,”As you see from the area of Pakistan where the Al Qaeda leaders and a lot of their Taliban supporters have hung out,hidden and from which they have launched attacks and incursions into Afghanistan.

“That’s never ever even been a part of the central government’s control in Pakistan.”

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