WASHINGTON — A former commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan says corruption, not the Taliban, is the worst threat to the future of the war-torn country.
In testimony Wednesday before a Senate subcommittee, Ret. Gen. John Allen said the Taliban are an "annoyance" compared to widespread corruption in Afghanistan.
Allen has recommended that 13,600 U.S. troops stay in Afghanistan after the NATO combat mission ends this year to help the Afghan security forces. He says the Afghans need time to improve leadership skills and technical know-how, which will allow them to mitigate the threat from the Taliban going forward.
Allen also urged the next Afghan president to repair relations with the United States, which have been badly damaged by Afghan President Hamid Karzai's unwillingness to sign a bilateral security agreement.