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US general warns of security gap when Marines leave Afghanistan

Security gains made in southern Afghanistan could suffer if US Marines are pulled out later this year without replacements, the head of the Marine Corps has warned.

General James Conway, the Marine Corps commandant, said the US Marines will be unable to provide more forces until there is a significant draw down of their numbers in Iraq.

No firm plan has been made regarding who will replace the 2,200 Marines in the southern Afghanistan when their tours end in November, Conway told AFP (1) (AppleTalk Filing Protocol) The file sharing protocol used in an AppleTalk network. In order for non-Apple networks to access data in an AppleShare server, their protocols must translate into the AFP language. See file sharing protocol. .

Conway made the remarks last week in an interview with a reporter who traveled with him on a visit to Afghanistan, where 3,500 Marines have been deployed, and to Iraq, where 24,000 Marines are stationed.

"Our experience has been -- and it's drawn principally from Iraq -- (that) when you are in an area for a while, people will eventually come to trust you, they rely on your security, they will give you intelligence and expect you to continue to provide that security," said Conway on a stop at the Marine base outside the Iraqi city of Fallujah.

"If you leave those people, the method of the Taliban or of the Al-Qaeda is to come in and exact a punishment," he said.

His warning comes amid rising violence in eastern Afghanistan and around Kabul. The Marines have been credited with helping keep the Taliban forces at bay in southern and western Afghanistan since arriving in March.

Conway cautioned that pulling out without a replacement would make it more difficult for Marines -- or any military force -- when they returned.

"What happens when you come back is that there's not a level of trustworthiness trustworthiness Ethics A principle in which a person both deserves the trust of others and does not violate that trust  that you've had there among the people because you did this once before," he said.

Marine Lieutenant LIEUTENANT. This word has now a narrower meaning than it formerly had; its true meaning is a deputy, a substitute, from the French lieu, (place or post) and tenant (holder). Among civil officers we have lieutenant governors, who in certain cases perform the duties of governors; (vide, the  Benjamin Brewster For other persons named Benjamin Brewster, see Benjamin Brewster (disambiguation).

Benjamin Brewster (November 25, 1860 - 2 February, 1941), Bishop is the Episcopal Diocese of Maine and Missionary Bishop of Western Colorado.
 knows how difficult it is to gain the confidence of Afghan locals.

Brewster leads some 70 Marines based at a small camp outside the village of Gulestan, in Afghanistan's volatile southwestern Farah province. The province borders Iran.

Opium and marijuana marijuana or marihuana, drug obtained from the flowering tops, stems, and leaves of the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa (see hemp) or C. indica; the latter species can withstand colder climates.  crops are king in the region, said Brewster, interviewed at the Gulestan camp. The dusty military outpost of tents and camouflage camouflage (kăm`əfläzh), in warfare, the disguising of objects with artificial aids, especially for the purpose of making them blend into their surroundings or of deceiving the observer as to the location of strategic points.  netting is ringed by dirt-filled barriers and is located some 97 kilometers (60 miles) from the nearest Marine base.

"When we leave, they will either go back to being farmers, or will be killed," said Brewster, whose Marines patrol an area some 15 square kilometers (six square miles A square mil is a unit of area, equal to the area of a square with sides of length one mil. A mil is one thousandth of an international inch. This unit of area is usually used in specifying the area of the cross section of a wire or cable. ) large.

Other forces with the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF ISAF International Security Assistance Force (UN program)
ISAF International Sailing Federation
ISAF International Shark Attack File
ISAF Israeli Air Force
ISAF Information Security Awareness Forum
) could provide security in the region that had intermittent intermittent /in·ter·mit·tent/ (-mit´ent) marked by alternating periods of activity and inactivity.

1. Stopping and starting at intervals.

 patrols before Marines arrived, Conway said.

"As long as someone is there -- someone who represents the government or represents security to the people -- I think we'll be OK. The question is who and to what degree," he said.

If the Marines return to Afghanistan after this deployment they will need to come back in much larger numbers, Conway said.

"We are undermanned in order to be able to do all we need to do in the south," he said.

Conway noted that the Marine battalion battalion

Tactical military organization composed of a headquarters and two or more companies, batteries, or similar units and usually commanded by a field-grade officer such as a lieutenant colonel.
 based in Farah province is responsible for 6,178 square kilometers (16,000 square miles) of territory.

"That's a huge area of responsibility. We can't nearly be every place we need to be in sufficient strength to manage that," he said.
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Publication:AFP Global Edition
Date:Aug 21, 2008
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