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26 March 2017 05:13 (South Africa)

Some officials say new US Afghan plan to protect 10 population centres

Officials are leaking details of what they believe will be US President Barack Obama’s decision about a new Afghan posture. They said Obama is focusing on protecting selected cities and towns, with troop numbers below his commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal’s call for up to 65,000 new troops. This approach is designed to nurture long-term stability, but eschew confrontation with the Taliban. As some are describing it, the debate is no longer about more troops or not, but about how many are needed. Thus, how much of the country would fall under American or Nato protection is crucial to the number of troops to send.
The sources say the administration is looking at protecting Kabul, Kandahar, Mazar-i-Sharif, Kunduz, Herat, Jalalabad and a few other village clusters. But military planners still advocate protection for major agricultural areas. Officials also say the approach includes accelerated training of Afghans, more economic development and reconciliation with less-radical Taliban forces. This might lead to complaints that the US was ceding large chunks of the nation to the Taliban. In response, some officials argue that many insurgents are motivated by local grievances and are not much of a threat to the US or the Kabul government. For more: The New York Times

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