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  • Gates' Afghan Quandary
    Posted by David A. Fulghum 3:55 PM on Oct 02, 2009

    The situation is getting worse in Afghanistan, but Defense Sec. Robert Gates remains squarely on the fence about what to do.

    “Two areas where it is clearly worse are in the north, particularly in Kunduz, and in the west, particularly in Herat,” says Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell who speaks on Gates' behalf. “But I know of no decision that would mark a clear change of strategy toward those areas.”

    Gates has expressed opposition to “a limited offshore, remote counter-terrorism operation,” Morrell says. But the Pentagon chief is also concerned about too many U.S. troops. As a result, he is “undecided … about the appropriate tack” going into the remaining weeks – perhaps two or three
    of discussions about Afghanistan.

    Morrell did not reject a short-hand analysis that military participants support counterinsurgency while Gates is “not firmly behind it”. “There is now discussion about whether that should continue to be the means by which we achieve [the desired] ends,” he says. “Resources will clearly be a part of the discussion. We’re not there yet. [It will be] a matter of weeks.”

    A more insightful comment was Morrell’s assessment that success is tied to “help from India … help from Pakistan … a much more positive role … by Iran,” Morrell says.

    Tags: ar99, Gates, Afghanistan, counterinsurgency

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