By Chris Burns and Patrick Donahue
Nov. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, drawing on his experience of military failure in Afghanistan in the 1980s, said the U.S. can’t win the conflict there and should begin pulling out its soldiers.
Afghanistan, where U.S. and NATO forces are battling a Taliban-led insurgency, is too fragmented between clans to be controlled militarily, Gorbachev, 78, said in an interview today in Berlin. While he said President Barack Obama would be unlikely to take his advice, Gorbachev said he saw no chance of success even with more U.S. troops.
“I believe that there is no prospect of a military solution,” Gorbachev said in Russian through a translator. “What we need is the reconciliation of Afghan society -- and they should be preparing the ground for withdrawal rather than additional troops.”
Gorbachev, who became general secretary of the ruling Communist Party in 1985, at age 54, initiated a restructuring program known as perestroika that eventually led to the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991. He spoke a day after he joined German Chancellor Angela Merkel and current world leaders in the German capital to mark the fall of the Berlin Wall 20 years ago.