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Search Tags: Afghanistan
The Pentagon is investigating allegations that official money was used to create an under-the-table group of spys to hunt down terrorists in Afghanistan. In the meantime the list of top al Qaida and Taliban operatives killed or captured continues to grow. Predator drones have been the principle weapon, but human intelligence has been a key as well. Previously, many drone strikes have missed the mark, because of weak or faulty intelligence, the success is appearing to improve.
The U.S. offensive in Marjah, Afghanistan appears to have been a success, so far, says Rear Admiral Greg Smith. "There are probably several more weeks of what we call clearing operations. Meanwhile in other parts of Marjah, bazaars are opening, life is beginning to return to pre-operational sort of levels of activity." Smith says this campaign was not designed to go after the Taliban. "The Marjah operation was not about trying to go in and kill the Taliban. It was really trying to separate the Taliban from the people."
The Associated Press says at least 868 members of the U.S. military have died in Central and South Asia since the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001. The Defense Department says at least 669 military personnel died in the Afghan region as a result of hostile action. Outside the Afghan region, the department reports 72 more members of the U.S. military died in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Other supporting the operation have died in Cuba, Africa, the Middle East, and East Asia
Are there problems ahead for the Obama administration and Pakistan? If the current situation is any indication, there may be. The U.S. wants the Pakistanis to engage Afghan militants operating in Pakistan to assist the NATO war against the Taliban in Afghanistan. Pakistan says it has its hands full with its own war. This is a serious problem, because the U.S. needs Pakistani cooperation on this in order to make its new strategy on the Afghan war to work.
State Hillary Clinton met with NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and reassured him the commitment to Afghanistan is not open would not need to be open-ended. "The need for additional forces is urgent, but their presence will not be indefinite," she said, noting that Obama's timeline called for Afghans to begin taking over in July 2011. "At that time, we will begin to transfer authority and responsibility to Afghan security forces, removing combat forces from Afghanistan over time with the assurance that Afghanistan's future, and ours, is secure," Clinton said.
The President is expected to send 30-40 thousand more US troops to Afghanistan, but they will not be the only ones going there. NATO will probably be sending more troops as well --Maybe as many as 10,000. What will the international troops be doing? It largely depends on what strategy the US chooses. They're expected to have a significant impact on training Afghans in the civilian sector and law enforcement areas. Whatever role they play, it's very likely they'll be there for a number of years.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates says the U.S. is going to do its part to reduce corruption in Afghanistan by examining its own contracts and projects, even as it is demanding the same from the Afghan government. "The place for us to start is to deal with corruption that may be associated with contracts we're letting or work that we're having done and development projects that we are undertaking in partnership with others including with the Afghans," said Gates. He made the comments while speaking to reporters at the Halifax International Security Forum in Nova Scotia.
At least a half dozen people have been arrested in Britain on terrorism charges. Police took them into custody in pre-dawn raids in near London's Heathrow airport as a part of what they call a "complex" situation. The men range in age from 25-52. They were linked to an alleged overseas threat. Authorities would not say what region of the world had been targeted, but experts in the UK say Afghanistan was the place in question and the men appear to have been involved in recruiting for terror related activities in Afghanistan.
In Afghanistan, the price tag for the war is six and a half billion dollars. Double what it was year before last. The Pentagon says it's going to need more money. Estimates about how much are reaching toward 35 billion dollars. Reuters is reporting the White House budget office estimates that it will cost about $1 million for each additional soldier sent to Afghanistan. If we're looking at 35,000 more troops going to Afghanistan --you do the math.
A senior al Qaeda leader in Afghanistan is blaming the Xe security company, formerly known as Blackwater, for being behind a string of deadly attacks in the Pakistani city of Peshawar. In an audio message from Mustafa Abu Yazid said Muslims could not have been behind the attacks, because they are fighting to protect the honor and lives of other Muslims. Peshawar has been under heavy attack in recent weeks. Pakistani and U.S. intelligence officials says the Taliban are behind the attacks.