U.S., NATO reviewing approach to Afghanistan
U.S. and NATO officials will conduct three “top-to-bottom reviews” of the coalition approach in Afghanistan, according to the New York Times.
The reviews will focus on the U.S. military’s fight against the Taliban and al-Qaida, the State Department’s diplomatic efforts and economic aid to the country, and NATO’s strategy since assuming control for operations last year, the newspaper reported on Sunday.
The first two assessments are expected to be complete in early 2008, and NATO’s review is expected to be finished in the spring, according to the newspaper.
Citing unnamed officials, the newspaper reported that the reviews were prompted by “growing unease” among senior advisers to President Bush about how well the mission in Afghanistan is succeeding.
On Wednesday, Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell acknowledged that attacks in the one part of southern Afghanistan have doubled since NATO took over last year.
“That said, as many of you know, Secretary (Robert) Gates returned from his trip to Afghanistan last week even more convinced the Taliban’s recent resurgence in some parts of the nation is not a threat militarily, but clearly is undermining the coalition’s efforts to stabilize and develop that country,” Morrell said during a news conference.
Recently, Afghan and coalition troops retook the town of Musa Qala, which had been held by the Taliban since February.
British troops handed the district over to Afghan police in October 2006. At the time, an unnamed British Defense official told The Associated Press that the move was a sign of an improved security situation in Afghanistan.