Stan McChrystal recounts US roadblocks to Taliban manhunt
Retired Gen. Stan McChrystal relayed story of how US special forces in Afghanistan finally got their man, despite an intelligence blackout from D.C. Now a Yale professor, he spoke this week about that Taliban episode, WikiLeaks, and information-sharing with the public.
The former commander of military forces in Afghanistan, retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal, this week related a striking behind-the-scenes account of the US Special Operations forces hunt for Taliban insurgents, revealing US government agency roadblocks that made his job more difficult.Skip to next paragraph
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Speaking at the Net-Centric Warfare Conference in Washington, the former general related the story of the US pursuit of a one-legged Taliban commander who operated in Afghanistan with considerable impunity, much to the consternation of Special Operations forces. The commander regularly traveled into and out of Afghanistan to visit his Taliban troops – what McChrystal referred to as a “battlefield circulation,” US military parlance for visits by top officers to check on their soldiers in the field.
“We were not fast enough, and not precise enough to get him,” he said at the conference, sponsored by the Institute for Defense and Government Advance. “So we started trying to find out why.”
To that end, McChrystal returned to Washington to meet with “one of our intelligence agencies." He recounted the conversation. “They said, ‘Well, actually, we know before he comes in when he’s going to come in, but we can’t give you that information.’ I said, ‘All right, why?’ They said, ‘Because you’re JSCOC [Joint Special Operations Command] and you target people. We’re not allowed to give you information until they are somewhere where you can target them legally’ – which is like telling someone to 'shoot skeet, but leave the weapon in the trunk of the car.' ”
Eventually McChrystal came to an agreement with the US intelligence agency. “They agreed to tell us” when the Taliban leader was in the country, “and I agreed not to go across the border” into Pakistan to get him.