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Search Tags: NATO
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.
Marc Ginsberg, former presidential adviser and U.S. ambassador to Morocco who is currently senior vice president of APCO Worldwide
The U.S.-led air strikes are now under NATO control.
Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III is meeting with NATO and European Union officials in Brussels to strengthen cyberdefense capabilities.
Even though senior NATO and Pentagon officials have expressed doubt that Afghan forces will be ready to take over security for the country in 2014, NATO leaders say thery will move ahead with step one of the plan to do just that. Britan, Canada and other allied countries say they do not want to be in a combat role in 2014 and are beginning to phase out their troops. The U.S. says it will begin it's withdrawal from Afghanistan next year.
The U.S. apologized Wednesday for a recent helicopter attack that killed two Pakistani soldiers at an outpost near the Afghan border, saying American pilots mistook the soldiers for insurgents they were pursuing. The Associated Press reports the apology, which came after a joint investigation, could pave the way for Pakistan to reopen a key border crossing that NATO uses to ship goods into landlocked Afghanistan. Pakistan closed the crossing to NATO supply convoys in apparent reaction to the Sept. 30 incident.
Pakistan has been using border crossing closures for political signaling, restricting transit to Afghanistan to convey its message that armed helicopter flights in Pakistani airspace cross the line of tolerable US actions. The September 30th helicopter incident and its aftermath have significant implications. First is that the US has found a red line that Pakistan cannot afford to let the US cross. Second, mistakes from drone attacks are more forgivable than helicopter attacks. And third, the Taliban will learn that a week-long cut-off of supplies at border crossing points is enough to spur action by the US to have the border reopened.