Obama and his special adviser for the region, Richard Holbrooke, want to put their own stamp on policy. They inherited three reviews on Afghanistan: one by Lt. Gen. Doug Lute, which was commissioned by the Bush administration; a second by Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and a third by Gen. David Petraeus, the Centcom commander who oversees the region.
Obama promptly ordered up a fourth assessment -- a review of the reviews, if you will. The baseline is the idea that Afghanistan and Pakistan are two theaters in the same war, combating the Taliban and al-Qaeda extremists that are operating in both countries. Hence, AFPAK. Overseeing this meta-review is Bruce Riedel, a former senior analyst at the CIA who's on loan for 60 days from the Brookings Institution.
So we expect something good and conclusive. G
Pakistan's announcement last week that it had negotiated a truce with Islamic rebels in the Swat Valley region. Pakistani officials portray the deal, which would impose Islamic sharia law in the area, as a way to placate tribal leaders and pry them loose from Taliban militants.
HOWEVER: It looks like a failed strategy.
Top Taliban join hands in Waziristan
MIRANSHAH: Top Taliban leaders from North and South Waziristan met on Friday to forge an alliance, said sources. The sources said that Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan chief Baitullah Mehsood and Taliban leaders Maulvi Nazir and Hafiz Gul Bahadar met at an undisclosed location in Waziristan and agreed to form an alliance. The sources said that the three Taliban leaders had formed a 13-member committee and authorised it to make ‘all decisions’. They also agreed that they would jointly defend attacks against them, and make plans in consultation with the committee. haji mujtaba
But American officials are skeptical. They say that while 100,000 Pakistani troops are deployed in the northwest, the war is going badly. "Even with all that manpower, they're not making much progress," says one key official. Washington fears that Pakistan may want to fold its hand in Swat to avoid morale problems in an army that would rather be confronting India in the east than Muslim militants in the northwest.
We have a unwilling ally. G
A similar stand-down took place several years ago in Waziristan, where Gen. Pervez Musharraf agreed to a truce rather than continue a failing campaign. Today in Waziristan, the only real threats to Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters come from U.S. Predator drones overhead.
Mehsud now a target for US drones
LAHORE: The US government has finally expanded its covert war in Pakistan to include Baitullah Mehsud’s Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan among its targets, The New York Times claimed on Friday.
The paper said two missile strikes on training camps run by Mehsud represented a broadening of the US campaign. Under President George W Bush, the United States frequently attacked militants from Al Qaeda and the Taliban involved in cross-border attacks into Afghanistan but stopped short of raids aimed at Mehsud and his followers, who have played less of a direct role in attacks on US troops.
But last year Mehsud was identified by the US as well as Pakistani officials as the man who had orchestrated the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto. Bush then included Mehsud’s name in a classified list of Taliban leaders the CIA and US commandos were authorised to capture or kill.
The paper said Pakistani military and intelligence officials have complained “for months” about the US refusal to strike at Mehsud. According to a senior Pakistani official, Pakistan’s intelligence services twice in recent months gave the United States detailed intelligence about Mehsud’s location, but, he said, the United States did not act on the information. Bush administration officials had said it was the Pakistanis who were reluctant to take on Mehsud and his network. Special US envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke and the White House declined comment on Mehsud or the new strikes. daily times monitor
Pakistani officials say that the government of President Asif Ali Zardari is ready to fight the Muslim militants, if America provides the tools and training for counterinsurgency. On the Pakistani "wish list" are attack helicopters, night-vision equipment, light artillery for the mountainous border regions, jamming equipment to stop Taliban radio broadcasts and other high-tech surveillance gear.
The Americans would like to teach counterinsurgency tactics to a Pakistani army organized to fight a traditional war against India. Here again, Zardari's government says that it is ready. The Pakistanis say that they already have authorized 70 U.S. Special Forces advisers to train the Frontier Corps constabulary in the tribal areas along the border -- and that they are willing to approve three times that number. They even talk of secret training camps in America to reduce the U.S. footprint in Pakistan.
The Obama team's broad goal for AFPAK is a three-way strategic engagement to fight a common enemy. This means billions in economic aid for a collapsing Pakistani economy; it means a new focus on fighting corruption in Afghanistan; and it may mean distancing the United States from President Hamid Karzai in advance of Afghanistan's presidential elections in August. (Complicating the situation is the fact that Karzai's legal mandate may expire in May.)
Will the new strategy require more U.S. troops than the 17,000 Obama decided to add last week? He will make that call over the next month, and it will be one of the fateful decisions of his presidency.
Parts excerpted form SOURCE:
PAKI HAS 100,00 TROOPS and tanks and can't defeat the Taliban?
Feels more like a lack of will and discipline baybe a feint for the Great Game. G
To get more US money, without defeating the Taliban.
Training them for counterinsurgency may just move those
skills into the Taliban.
US needs a good "Info.
Labels: 'AFPAK' Strategy