Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Michele Flournoy gave testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee, emphasizing that the ongoing campaign in Southern Afghanistan“™s goal of reclaiming Marjah is the only the opening salvo in a larger initiative to crack the Taliban.
Flournoy was an entry on the Top 20 People to Watch in 2010 list by Executive Biz. Read about it here.
“Marjah is an opening salvo. It is a first step. It is designed to begin to create that shift in momentum,” she said, according to the Washington Times. “And I think once we have that in Helmand the focus will shift to Kandahar province.”
In addressing the issue of the Taliban relocating in the wake of the Allied assault, Flournoy did not want to divulge details in the corresponding U.S. response, or the effect the shift was having on American forces.
“It“™s maybe more for some of our intelligence-agency brethren. But we can certainly talk about it more in a closed session,“ she said.
Flournoy was challenged by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on the reports that the Taliban was steadily gaining new volunteers:
“Secretary Flournoy, there are press reports that the Taliban have been able to build up their strength by about 35 per cent over the past two years in the Afghan-Pakistan border up by 7,000 more than in 2008 to about 27,000,“ said McCain.
When asked her opinion on the statistics, Flournoy declined comment, but volunteered to speak in a closed session.