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Search Tags: Afghan
General Stanley McChrystal commander of U.S. and NATO forces says his forces could defeat insurgents on the battlefield, but could not ultimately win the war unless the Afghan government earned the trust of its people. In an interview with Reuters he said that one of his top objectives was to put corruption centre stage. This comes on the heels of a military offensive in Helmand province several more weeks of the "clearing phase" of the operation.
The U.S. military is planning to set up new training centers inside Pakistan where American special operations trainers would work with Pakistani forces close to the Afghan border battle zone. A U.S military official says the new centers would supplement two already operating in Pakistan, and they would be used to accelerate and expand the training of Pakistani forces considered key to rooting out al-Qaida leaders hiding along the mountainous border.
It's a Pashto term for "grand council" and the Afghan government has invited the Taliban to attend one. A Loya Jirga is a consultative system that Afghans have used for more than 1,000 years to settle affairs of the nation or to rally people behind a particular cause. The first Jirga was held near Kandahar in 1709 to oust an brutal governor appointed by Iranian conquerors. The last was 2006 in Qalat to discuss the rights and sovereignty of Balochistan. They are often conducted to promote unity.
NATO is going to send 7000 more troops to Afghanistan to compliment the 30,000 President Barack Obama is adding to the force. NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said he had received confirmed pledges for the extra troops, with the probability of more countries contributing to the total in the next few months. NATO still needs over 200 more police and military training teams to boost Afghan forces so they can eventually take over security responsibility and allow foreign forces to withdraw.
The counter-insurgency strategy the President has ordered in Afghanistan is designed to protect major Afghan population centers along with agricultural areas and transportation routes. By designed the plan, if it works according to military analysts, will make Afghans more comfortable with the Karzai government and with their lives and give them desperately needed services and improve their quality of life. At the end of the day, experts say it will give Afghans strength and reason to tell the Taliban no when they come to recruit.
The Pentagon has been seeking with little success permission from Congress to transfer used military hardware from Iraq to the Pakistani army but American lawmakers have so far balked at the request, citing concerns that Islamabad could use the equipment against India. Pakistan is mobilizing forces now for a long awaited ground offensive against Taliban militants in their South Waziristan stronghold near the Afghan border.
As of Wednesday, at least 46 international troops, including 24 Americans, had been killed in Afghanistan this month, according to statements by the U.S. military and the NATO command. That matches the tolls for the two previous deadliest months - June and August of 2008. There are about 57,000 U.S. troops currently in Afghanistan, and the number is expected to rise to at least 68,000 by the end of 2009.
U.S. Marines and Afghan troops launched their long-expected attack over the weekend on the biggest Taliban-held town in the south, seeking to re-establish government control and undermine support for the militants in their southern heartland. The attack on Marjah is the biggest joint Afghan-international offensive of the war and is the largest combat operation since President Barack Obama ordered 30,000 U.S. more troops there last year to turn the tide of the war.