[Update, 2:34 pm Eastern: Audio and video clips from the report posted.]
Despite the change in administration, CNN’s Michael Ware, who regularly issued doom-and-gloom reports on Iraq in past years, bluntly stated during a report on Thursday’s Anderson Cooper 360 that “America cannot win the war in Afghanistan...with bombs and bullets,” and offered that the only solution to the attacks on NATO troops was “cutting deals” with the Taliban and its leader, Mullah Omar.
Ware made this impolitic remark from the middle of the thoroughly Islamist border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan. The correspondent presented clips with interviews with Pakistani military and intelligence officials, and advanced the notion that Pakistan could serve as a mediator in such “deals” with the al Qaeda ally [audio clips from the report available here].
After giving a dramatic description of the region he had traveled to, Ware delivered his personal assessment of the Afghan campaign:
WARE: To put it simply, America cannot win the war in Afghanistan. It certainly can’t win it with bombs and bullets, and it can’t win it in Afghanistan alone. But part of the answer lies here, where I’m standing, in these mountain valleys in Pakistan on the Afghan border, because this is al Qaeda and Taliban territory. Right now, there’s as many as 100 Taliban on that mountaintop between the snowcapped peaks and amid those trees. They’re currently under siege from local villagers, who are driving them from their bunkers. But at the end of the day, it’s the Pakistani military who tolerates the presence of groups like the Taliban, and it’s not until America can start cutting deals with these people that there’s any hope of the attacks on American troops coming to an end.