London, Sept 4 (ANI): An influential American general Jack Keane, has endorsed a report entitled 'Succeeding in Afghanistan' that criticises US President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron's decision to set a withdrawal date for Afghanistan, that says it "emboldens" the Taliban to fight on.
The report, published by the Henry Jackson Society, cautions that the Afghan people are now frightened of supporting the Kabul government as they would be labelled collaborators once Western forces leave.
Gen Keane, a close fried of Gen David Petraeus, the new American commander in Afghanistan, called the report "unique and invaluable" and added that the plan has encouraged America's enemies but put scepticism in the minds of its friends.
"Just the policy itself has done damage in the region because it has clearly encouraged our adversaries and put scepticism in the minds of our friends," Keane said.
"The plan had made it harder for the U.S. even if the policy was conditional, and even if there was very little withdrawal in July," he added.
According to the report's author George Grant, a counter-terrorism expert, early withdrawal of troops would be would be a "tremendous betrayal" of the Afghan people.
"It emboldens insurgents to continue fighting, as they are presented with a survival target to reach," The Telegraph quoted him as saying in the report.
The report has urged political and military leaders to commit to the "long haul" and cease talk of withdrawal dates.
"Defeat in Afghanistan is not inevitable," it concluded. "On the contrary, if the United Kingdom, the United States and others retain their commitment to Afghanistan, and continue to pursue the counterinsurgency approach being applied at present, then success will not be such a distant prospect as so many seem to think." (ANI)