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India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

NRao
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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby NRao » 06 Mar 2009 21:51

Johann,

The issue is never if the radicals can mount a viable attack within the UK. The issue is the associated cost to prevent them from doing so.

In the US it is the checks at the airports, etc - there are tons of efforts that the genpop is not aware of but costs billions.

I think one was - a sure way -to force TSP to act is to bill Pakistan for such costs. And, as I have said for some time - the Pakistani Army + ISI - AS we know it - MUST cease to exist. No two ways about that. It will take Obama some time to arrive at this conclusion - till then happy hunting.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby Johann » 06 Mar 2009 23:35

N Rao,

Back in 2004 the analytical consensus that emerged in the West was that the transnational jihad represented an insurgency waged on a global scale. The West simply can not be everywhere at once, or even overcommitted to any one theatre other than the homeland. To do so plays directly in to insurgent strategy that seeks overcommitment and collapse.

Some of the key element in counter-insurgency are disaggregation (ie minimising the no. of groups/communities/individuals the insurgents to pull people in to their umbrella) and state-building. Whether its Algeria, or Egypt, or Indonesia, the West has relied on a partnership with the local government to defeat the jihadis targeting them. All of these governments, even the Saudis had a vested interest in containing jihadi activity, given the revolutionary streak among these groups.

In the case of a failed state like Somalia, the US government relied on Ethiopia to come in and defeat the Taliban like Islamic Courts Union (who receive some support from Eritrea). Well, unfortunately the Islamists are tenacious, and the Ethiopians werent willing to hang around forever taking hits for relatively small returns, and the Somali anti-Islamist state, like the Afghan anti-islamist state has had trouble getting on its feet. Somalia is (for now) relatively peripheral to the terrorism problem, although the piracy problem is getting more attention.

The point I'm making is this - there has been over the last five years growing recognition of Pakistan's particular unreliability, but in terms of the costs you spoke of, there is no consensus that trying to bake a new loaf from scratch is cheaper or will be more succesful than the worm infested half a loaf now in hand.

It is the Pakistanis who are likely to force the issue - either by cutting too many side deals that fail to take the pressure off NATO forces in Afghanistan, or by cutting access to intelligence needed to stop plots against the homeland from succeeding, or if the Pakistani security state (PA/ISI/jihadniks) beset by its own internal contradictions self-destructs as it was doing at the end of Musharraf's time.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby NRao » 07 Mar 2009 00:50

Johann,

No issues with any of that.

My compilation of UK related events started when I was asked which country would be impacted the most (among India, Iran and Russia). My response was the UK - which led to my compilation of events.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby Johann » 07 Mar 2009 01:31

NR,

I think we have to differentiate between political impact, and security impact. I agree that the UK is one of the places (outside Afghanistan itself obviously, and Pakistan) where withdrawal would have the biggest political impact.

I am not sure the UK or Germany (Uzbek jihadi groups in Pakistan drawing German Turks, Arabs and converts organised every plot in the last few years) are in a unique position however in terms of the volume of the actual physical threat - every Arab country that has a problem with revolutionary jihadis is in the same position; the Saudis, Egyptians, Jordanians, Iraqis, Moroccans, Algerians, etc. Just like the late 1980s and 1990s, these guys are drifting to Pakistan and Afghanistan, and it means trouble for them, even if they decide they want to kill Westerners in Casablanca or Sharm al-Sheikh or wherever instead of creating an Islamic Republic.

Of course the UK unlike the Arab states can not sustainably use the standard domestic police state tactics that are in effect every day- disapearances, indefinite detention without due process, torture, etc - that is what makes the terrorist threat a bigger *political* impact. It forces the country to make hard and difficult decisions over free speech, the role of the state, community relations, foreign policy, identity, etc. All of the agonising debates that BRF has endured after every major act of terror in India. In short it makes life very difficult for politicians, and politicians dont like that one bit.

So they have an enormous interest in preventing attacks using whatever method has the least impact on domestic politics. In short, externalising domestic security. So long as British Pakistani jihadis can be cheaply arrested and incarcerated in Pakistan or killed in Afghanistan with JDAMs, its far cheaper (in terms of political costs) than having to deal with them on British soil. If you had no problem doing that at home, it would be a different story, but the political and legal environment just doesnt allow it.

Withdrawal from Afghanistan would expand the no. of training camps, and make the British and German governments more reliant on Pakistani intelligence cooperation to handle the significantly increased volume of plots. Given the US commitment to counter-terrorism in Europe as a vital component of the transatlantic relationship, and the continuing importance of that relationship to all parties involved that would mean continued, coordinated Western programme of carrots and sticks to Pakistan, except in larger volumes.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby NRao » 07 Mar 2009 02:56

Johann,

I like that. I come up with a theory, you provide the proof. :)

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby ramana » 07 Mar 2009 03:02

rahulranjan wrote:US, Canada discuss India's role in Afghanistan
.........
"We touched briefly on the involvement of India within that context. And certainly that is also an important country, a very major player within the region," Mackey said as a joint media briefing with Secretary Gates...............


The comprehensive approach that Canada has taken in building capacity of the Government of Afghanistan, we think through that prism we should also be looking at ways that we can help the Pakistani people," Mackey said.


Is Canada involved only in capacity building? What more role they play as part of ISAF in Afghanistan.



Height of arrogance to discuss India's role without consulting India? Two bankrupts powers decide to let gungadin carry the water bag?

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby Sanjay M » 07 Mar 2009 03:11

Canada's gearing up to withdraw anyway. The political consensus here, even now being acknowledged by the governing party, is that the war cannot be won and that continuing to stay would just senselessly waste Canadian lives. The Muslim lobby here is quite strong too, and so they insist that Canada must withdraw its forces from Afghanistan.

Anyhow, here is a famous picture of an Afghan girl, with a comparison of how she looks now:

http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2002/ ... -text.html

Image

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby NRao » 07 Mar 2009 03:13

We ALL have to go through that One Guru ka Dwar (door).

It takes time for enlightenment.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby Johann » 07 Mar 2009 05:38

The Canadians will be back in 2-4 years so long as NATO is still in a combat role in Afghanistan. They simply dont have keep their army big enough to sustain this big, and this intensive a deployment. They've also taken plenty of casualities while far larger military establishments within NATO like France and Germany have sat outside the main theatre of operations against the Taliban, and unfortunately that means popular opinion demands a break.

Ultimately popular opinion in Continental Europe holds that US foreign policy in the Middle East is the major reason Al-Qaeda is targeting the US; the best way to avoid being targeted is to avoid being too prominently caught up in American foreign policy, and its wars in the Muslim world.

Of course its not that easy since Continental Europe prefers to have the US subsidise the cost of maintaining a favorable balance of power with Russia, and anyone else that might threaten it, which in turn frees up money to pay for that lovely welfare state.Continental Europe has to be willing to

a) cut back the welfare state and conduct its own deterrence - i.e. become something like the US
or
b) keep the welfare state and get pushed around by Russia like a giant Finland

They like those choices less than the current situation, which means they cant stay out of Al Qaeda's crosshairs. There is no such thing as a free lunch.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby ShauryaT » 07 Mar 2009 08:02

Johann wrote:Withdrawal from Afghanistan would expand the no. of training camps, and make the British and German governments more reliant on Pakistani intelligence cooperation to handle the significantly increased volume of plots. Given the US commitment to counter-terrorism in Europe as a vital component of the transatlantic relationship, and the continuing importance of that relationship to all parties involved that would mean continued, coordinated Western programme of carrots and sticks to Pakistan, except in larger volumes.
I agree with this analysis, nothing's changed, really. I now wish a large attack in a western city, with roots in the FATA. This is not about hatred for the west, it is about waking them up and about self interest. For the carrots and sticks means more and more Indians will die and it is the Indian people's economy and security that will pay the price for the policies of the west.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby Lalmohan » 07 Mar 2009 17:06

I would change your wish to a foiled large attack - no one wants to see innocents killed or precious civil liberties curtailed. enough is enough

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby Johann » 08 Mar 2009 03:13

Shaurya, Lalmohan,

Earlier succesful and foiled attacks did have strong ties to FATA/NWFP/Karachi. Why else has Pakistan been openly regarded as the most important place in the world to stop attacks for the last 5 years?

Pakistan has given just as much cooperation as is needed to reduce the chances of a succesful attack. If one gets through, in response to pressure they will provide enough cooperation to prevent another one from getting through for a while.

The only thing that can realistically change the nature of the game is the Pakistani ability to play both ends - the contradictions between allowing the West to bomb and arrest the jihadis it can find (and throwing in kicks to show that they have the right spirit), while supporting the ones the West either havent found yet/cant reach/havent prioritised.

That is what happened under Musharraf - the ISI and PA were at war with themselves. The PA thought getting rid of Musharraf would relieve them of the violence of these contradictions, but it has not. It is the Pakistani elite that have to be forced to make a choice - the same choice that Arab governments like Egypt and Jordan were forced to make. Oppress the jihadis, or be oppressed by them. The Marriott bombing, the attack on the SL cricket team, the attacks on the Pakistani elite's lifestyle and mobility, the assasinations of senior PA officers and ISI personnel are what matter.

The jihadis are the hammer, the West is the anvil, and Pakistan is caught in between because it has placed itself inbetween. If you want the PA to break, then the hammer must strike Pakistan. Hitting the anvil alone will change *nothing*.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby Bhaskar » 08 Mar 2009 06:25

I am sorry if this is posted before...
but ... here is what Orbat.com has to say on this issue on 0230 GMT March 7, 2009

Indian Troop Offer For Afghanistan We asked Mandeep Singh Bajwa, our south Asia correspondent, if he had any follow-up on his story that India had offered the United States 120,000 troops for Afghanistan. Mr. Bajwa replied that the US knows about the offer, but Washington still has not decided to abandon Pakistan. Until the US makes that decision, it cannot accept the offer as accepting will destroy ties with Pakistan. The Indians, says Mr. Bajwa, are confident the US will sooner or later take that decision.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby ramana » 08 Mar 2009 06:48

Bhaskar wrote:I am sorry if this is posted before...
but ... here is what Orbat.com has to say on this issue on 0230 GMT March 7, 2009

Indian Troop Offer For Afghanistan We asked Mandeep Singh Bajwa, our south Asia correspondent, if he had any follow-up on his story that India had offered the United States 120,000 troops for Afghanistan. Mr. Bajwa replied that the US knows about the offer, but Washington still has not decided to abandon Pakistan. Until the US makes that decision, it cannot accept the offer as accepting will destroy ties with Pakistan. The Indians, says Mr. Bajwa, are confident the US will sooner or later take that decision.


Thsi whole thread was started by one quote from orbat! See the first page.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby ShauryaT » 09 Mar 2009 07:09

Johann wrote:The only thing that can realistically change the nature of the game is the Pakistani ability to play both ends - the contradictions between allowing the West to bomb and arrest the jihadis it can find (and throwing in kicks to show that they have the right spirit), while supporting the ones the West either havent found yet/cant reach/havent prioritised.

.....

The jihadis are the hammer, the West is the anvil, and Pakistan is caught in between because it has placed itself inbetween. If you want the PA to break, then the hammer must strike Pakistan. Hitting the anvil alone will change *nothing*.

Johann: My post above was in frustration. For every ounce of blame on western forces, 100 times more is the responsibility of the GoI to protects its own interests. Especially when the actions needed are in GoI's realm of capabilities and probabilities.

There is only one power, which has the requisite interests to strike the hammer on Pakistan and it is the Indian state and its armed forces.

Truth be told, it is this frustration that spills over.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby ShauryaT » 09 Mar 2009 08:00

Jihadis turn on Pakistan

G Parthasarathy

Pakistan’s politicians appear to learn nothing from their country’s past, when lack of respect for democratic and constitutional norms and institutions led to military takeovers. Whether it was the coup staged by Gen Iskandar Mirza and Gen Ayub Khan within a decade of independence, the ouster of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto after allegations of rigging the national election, or the 1999 takeover by Gen Pervez Musharraf — the political class had so thoroughly discredited itself that not a voice was raised whenever the Army’s infamous 111 Brigade moved in to take over the country.

Is Pakistan moving in this direction again with President Asif Ali Zardari and Mr Nawaz Sharif locked in a confrontation? Where is Pakistan headed after Mr Zardari’s refusal to restore the former Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry to the Supreme Court, and the decision of the apex court, headed by a Chief Justice beholden to Gen Musharraf and Mr Zardari, to declare Mr Sharif and his brother, Shahbaz, ineligible to stand for elections and hold high office?

Mr Sharif himself can have no great claims to being a stickler for constitutional propriety. Following the ouster of Benazir Bhutto in 1990 in a constitutional coup staged by then President Ghulam Ishaq Khan and Army chief Mirza Aslam Beg, Mr Sharif led an alliance of Right-wing parties, duly bankrolled by the ISI, to become Prime Minister. During Mr Sharif’s second term as Prime Minister, goons from his ruling Pakistan Muslim League, led by his political secretary, Mr Mushtaq Tahir Kheli, stormed the Supreme Court on November 28, 1997, during a confrontation with then Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah.

His present claims of ‘respect’ for constitutional propriety and independence of the judiciary are primarily motivated by his belief that, if restored to office, sacked Chief Justice Chaudhry will declare Gen Musharraf’s actions illegal and seek punitive action against him. Mr Zardari believes that if this happens, the immunity granted to him by Gen Musharraf in cases of corruption would be revoked. Pakistan’s squabbling and feudal politicians have still to learn that in political life, compromise is a better option than vendetta.

The Zardari-Sharif feud is being played out in Islamabad and in Lahore, the capital of Pakistan’s populous Punjab province, where Sharif enjoys widespread support. This battle is being carried into Islamabad by lawyers demanding the restoration of sacked Chief Justice Chaudhry to office. The lawyers are determined to converge in large numbers on the capital. Mr Zardari’s coalition partners are uneasy over the looming confrontation. His authoritarian style of functioning is leading to tensions and differences within the ruling Pakistan People’s Party, and particularly with his hand-picked Prime Minister, Mr Yousuf Raza Gilani.

With Mr Gilani appearing determined to trim Mr Zardari’s powers by seeking to disband the National Security Council, which the President presides over, Pakistan could see a Government hamstrung by internal rivalries and challenged by a confrontational Opposition. In such a situation, the Army, which recognises that years of misrule by it has resulted in public disenchantment, will remain the dominant player in shaping national security policies, while gleefully allowing the politicians to discredit themselves.

These developments have led to American and international recognition that outside powers and visiting VIPs have to deal directly with Army chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani while professing support for democracy in Pakistan. For India, this means that the ability of Pakistan’s civilian interlocutors to deliver results on issues like terrorism is very limited. This becomes important now because evidence corroborated by the FBI shows the Pakistani Army-controlled Special Communications Organisation was involved in developing communications facilities for Lashkar-e-Tayyeba terrorists and their handlers in Pakistan who executed the 26/11 Mumbai carnage. It also means that given the links of senior LeT functionaries like operations chief Zaki-ur-Rahman Lakhvi and communications chief Zarar Shah with the ISI and other elements in the Pakistani Army, there is little prospect of either a comprehensive investigation or a transparent trial of the perpetrators of the carnage.

Noted American commentators like journalist David Sanger have exposed the duplicity of the Pakistani military establishment, led earlier by Gen Musharraf and now by Gen Kayani, in supporting Taliban leaders and even informing Taliban fighters of impending American military operations. Sanger has revealed that the CIA had monitored a conversation in which Gen Kayani described the top Taliban military commander, Jalaluddin Haqqani, as a “strategic asset”. Sanger has also exposed the ISI’s involvement in the bombing of the Indian Embassy in Kabul.

Pakistan has paid a high price for its duplicity and the policies of successive Army chiefs of seeking ‘strategic depth’ in Afghanistan and ‘bleeding India with a thousand cuts’, utilising radical Islamic groups. These groups have joined hands and created a situation wherein the entire North-West Frontier Province, including Swat valley, located 160 km from Islamabad, is now under Taliban rule. The Durand Line, which Afghanistan has never recognised as its international border, has virtually ceased to exist. Rather than gaining ‘strategic depth’ in Afghanistan, all that the Pakistani Army has achieved is giving ‘strategic depth’ to the Taliban in Pakistan.

In this volatile situation, New Delhi cannot rule out the possibility of even more terrorist strikes in the coming months. The Rand Corporation has carried out a detailed study authored, among others, by former US envoy to India Robert Blackwill and strategic analyst Ashley Tellis. The report notes that the objective of the LeT, which is dedicated to destroying what it calls a “Crusader, Zionist, Hindu alliance”, is not merely ‘liberating’ Kashmir but breaking up India and promoting Hindu-Muslim tensions. The report is critical of the absence of effective coordination between agencies like the IB, the R&AW and State police forces, while noting that the police across India lack the equipment and training to meet the terrorist threat.

While Home Minister P Chidambaram has moved swiftly to deal with the mismanagement and inefficiency that his predecessor promoted in the country’s security set-up, it would be a serious mistake to under-estimate the challenges India still faces from jihadi terrorism emanating from across its border and from radicalised youth within the country. The Rand Corporation report notes, “For the foreseeable future India is likely to remain a target of Pakistan-based terrorism.” More importantly, it says that while India understands the “costs of military action”, it should clearly understand the costs of “not responding” to terrorist outrages sponsored from across its border.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby ramana » 09 Mar 2009 08:05

ShauryaT, the last bold line from Rand is very, very significant. And RAND should know who gets hit if they respond.

Massa establishment wants India to respond but if India does they will label them warmonger and all sorts of things. So the response has to be there but not the way they expect.

One of our members keeps saying this, that massa wants a war between India and TSP and gets type cast for this.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby ShauryaT » 09 Mar 2009 08:10

Why U.S. policy risks repeating history
Brahma Chellaney

In setting out to deal with the Afghanistan-Pakistan predicament, Barack Obama is seeking to repeat some of the very Reagan-era mistakes that created this mess.

At a time when the Taliban, with its inner shura (council) ensconced in the Quetta area, is making deeper inroads into Pakistan, U.S. President Barack Obama’s policy on Afghanistan and Pakistan (“Afpak” in Washingtonese) raises fundamental questions: Is Washington serious about solving what it helped bring about? And can a solution involve doing more of what caused the problem?

The Obama administration has set out to train and arm local militias in every Afghan province, even as Defence Secretary Robert Gates has triggered alarm bells by declaring in Krakow, Poland, that the U.S. “would be very open” to a Swat Valley-style agreement in Afghanistan with the Taliban. Faced with grim realities on the ground, the new administration is seeking to pursue shortcuts, lest Afpak burn Mr. Obama’s presidency in the same way Iraq consumed George W. Bush’s. Still, it is important to remember the origins of the Afpak problem.

A covert U.S. war against the nine-year Soviet military intervention in Afghanistan helped instil an Afpak jihad culture and create Frankensteins like Osama bin Laden and Mullah Mohammad Omar. It was at a mid-1980s White House ceremony attended by some turbaned and bearded Afpak “holy warriors” that President Ronald Reagan proclaimed “mujahideen” leaders the “moral equivalent of the founding fathers” of America. Now a second military intervention in Afghanistan since 2001 — this time by the U.S., with the aid of NATO and other allied troops — has further destabilised the region.

Yet, in trying to salvage the overt U.S. war in Afghanistan, Mr. Obama is ignoring the lessons of the earlier covert war and unwittingly seeking to repeat history. In the same way the U.S. created “mujahideen” by funnelling billions of dollars worth of arms to them in the 1980s, Washington has now embarked on a plan to set up local militias across Afghanistan. And just as the covert war’s imperatives prompted the U.S. in the 1980s to provide multibillion-dollar aid packages to Pakistan while turning a blind eye to its nuclear-smuggling and other illicit trans-border activities, Washington is now unveiling a quantum jump in aid to that country while seeking to neither bring the rogue Inter-Services Intelligence under civilian oversight nor subject the recently-freed A.Q. Khan to international questioning.

While pursuing major changes domestically, Mr. Obama is demonstrating a degree of caution that makes his foreign policy look like a repackaged version of Mr. Bush’s. Besides retaining Mr. Bush’s defence secretary and rendition policy, the once anti-war Mr. Obama is in less of a hurry to exit Iraq, with his full troop withdrawal to be completed in 2011 in accordance with Mr. Bush’s plan. While asking his aides to come up with an Afpak strategy before he goes to Europe for the April 2 NATO summit, Mr. Obama has already made key decisions — from sending more troops to Afghanistan to pushing ahead with new civilian militias. In Pakistan, U.S. cooperation has been stepped up with the military, including new joint CIA-ISI missions in tribal areas, commando training to Frontier Corps and sharing of U.S. intercepts of militant cellular and satellite phone calls.

Under the militia-building plan, designed to complement Mr. Obama’s troop “surge,” lightly trained militias are being set up in the Afghan provinces as part of a supposed game-changing strategy. The first such militia units are almost ready to be rolled out in Wardak province, near Kabul. The costs to the U.S. to train and maintain such provincial militias will depend on how many recruits the programme is able to draw. But the financial costs can only be small compared to the likely costs to regional security.

The plan, initiated quietly without any consultation with allies and partners, flies in the face of the common agreement that the international community must focus on institution-building, demobilisation of existing militias and reconstruction to create a stable, moderate Afghanistan — goals that have prompted India to pour massive $1.2 billion aid into that country and start constructing the new Afghan Parliament building. The decision ignores the danger that such militias could go out of control and threaten international security. That is exactly what happened with the militias Reagan heavily armed in the 1980s, the so-called “mujahideen.”

Before long, the militias would be terrorising local populations. Today, America is unable to stop the misuse of its large annual military aid by Pakistan or account for the arms it has supplied to Afghan and Iraqi security forces. Controlling non-state actors is even harder. That is the lesson from the rise of the Taliban, fathered by the ISI and endorsed by U.S. policy as a way out of the chaos that engulfed Afghanistan after President Najibullah’s 1992 ouster.

Prodded by the intense lobbying of Unocol, a U.S. firm that was seeking to build energy pipelines from Turkmenistan, the Clinton administration called the Taliban’s 1996 ascension to power “an opportunity for a process of national reconciliation to begin.” Some 13 years later, as if no lesson has been learned from the Taliban’s rampages, Secretary Gates has used the same term “reconciliation” to suggest compromise with that rabidly Islamist militia.

Building civilian and military institutions to recreate a unified, stable Afghanistan out of the ashes of three decades of war is not easy. But the shortcuts Mr. Obama is seeking are likely to impose enduring costs. Just because Afghan security forces are not yet sufficiently large or adequately groomed to take over the fight cannot justify the setting up of more militias in a country already swarming with armed militiamen. When the United Nations-sponsored programme to disarm and demobilise existing militias is in limbo, the move to create new militia units in the name of an “Afghan Public Protection Force” risks seriously undermining the secular Afghan national army and triggering more ethnic and sectarian bloodletting.

The real threat today is from the disparate militias that have been at loggerheads in the past but now oppose foreign intervention. The insurgency is made up of the ragtag Taliban — oiled by drug money and petrodollars — and a number of private armies, including Jalaluddin Haqqani’s militia force, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s Hezb-e-Islami and Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi. To create more armed militiamen is to play with fire.

Just as the Pakistani army and the ISI served as America’s most critical eyes and ears in the 1980s’ covert war, U.S. logistics and intelligence dependence on them in the current overt war is being reinforced by several factors — a troop surge to steady a faltering military campaign; the desire to cut a deal with the Taliban; and by the recent Kyrgyz decision to shut down the American air base at Manas, a major hub for troops and cargo to Afghanistan. Despite the Manas loss, Mr. Obama, at this stage, is unlikely to seriously explore the only possible alternative he has to greater U.S. reliance on Pakistan: Do a deal with Tehran to gain access to Afghanistan through the Iranian port of Chabahar and the Indian-built Zaranj-Delaram highway, which links up to the ring road to Kandahar and Kabul.

If Richard Holbrooke’s appointment as special representative is not merely intended to sell decisions already made in Washington, such as to set up militias and increase troop levels, genuine prior consultations with partners and friends are essential, or else Mr. Obama would be following Mr. Bush’s much-criticised footsteps. Yet Mr. Obama made his first presidential telephone call to Afghan President Hamid Karzai to merely convey an Afghanistan-related decision he had already made — to send 17,000 more U.S. troops.

In fact, while pampering the Pakistani military establishment that is working to undermine the civilians in power, the U.S. is undercutting the present civilian government in Kabul by directly reaching out to provincial governors and seeking their help, among other things, to establish militias. While Mr. Gates scoffs at a cohesive, stable, democratic Afghanistan as “some sort of Central Asian Valhalla,” Mr. Obama is itching to dump Mr. Karzai. Mr. Obama’s scaled-back objective is not to rout the Taliban but, as he told a joint session of Congress, “to defeat [the] al-Qaeda.”

The Afpak problem won’t go away without a clear break from failed U.S. policies and unceasing investments in institution-building. Continuing more of what hasn’t worked in the past, such as throwing more money at Pakistan and pouring more foreign troops into Afghanistan without a sustained commitment to uproot terrorism, is like feeding the beast. A U.S. deal with the Taliban will not only repeat history, but also reinforce Afpak’s position as a global narco-terrorist beachhead.

Building institutions and defeating transnational terrorism, of course, are long-drawn-out missions. But Mr. Obama wants to demonstrate change in keeping with his election-campaign slogan. That means giving priority to what is politically expedient than to long-term interests — the very mistake that gave rise to the phenomenon of jihadist transnational terror. It also means redefining success and taking shortcuts, including using the troop surge as a show of force to cut grotty deals and rear new armed thugs. “Surge, bribe and run” sums up Mr. Obama’s unfolding strategy. Little surprise Pakistani generals are smiling.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby ShauryaT » 09 Mar 2009 08:56

I do not remember if the RAND report has been posted here earlier.

The Lessons of Mumbai

Authors are:
Angel Rabasa, Robert D. Blackwill,
Peter Chalk, Kim Cragin, C. Christine Fair,
Brian A. Jackson, Brian Michael Jenkins,
Seth G. Jones, Nathaniel Shestak,
Ashley J. Tellis

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby RayC » 09 Mar 2009 09:54

Obama open to Taliban talks

HELENE COOPER AND SHERYL GAY STOLBERG
Obama: Reaching out

Washington, March 8: President Barack Obama declared in an interview that the US was not winning the war in Afghanistan and opened the door to a reconciliation process in which the American military would reach out to moderate elements of the Taliban, much as it did with Sunni militias in Iraq.

http://www.telegraphindia.com/1090309/j ... 645067.jsp


An interesting thought.

But success of the plan?

How does India fit into the new scheme of things?

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby kasthuri » 09 Mar 2009 10:11

Any negotiation made based on losing the ground is bound to fail. They (US) would be better off bargaining after they have some hold. It looks to me they are desperately looking for an exit door.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby NRao » 09 Mar 2009 19:35

In the running series of why India should not be afraid if the US vacates A'stan:

The US, now, has joined the UK Group (Ltd): LeT replaces Al-Qaeda as biggest threat to US: Security experts

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby NRao » 09 Mar 2009 19:39

RayC wrote:
An interesting thought.

But success of the plan?

How does India fit into the new scheme of things?


Forget Iraq, the US actually spent some 7 years with "moderates" - like Mush - in Pakistan. This (Pakistani moderates) is a far better and closer example of dealing with the Taliban than the Sunnis of Iraq. The association in Pakistan has failed, and, so will the dealings with "moderate Taliban".

India needs to do her stuff - maintain contacts with the right groups in A'stan. No need to say a word about what is happening between US and Moderate Taliban.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby NRao » 09 Mar 2009 19:42

It looks to me they are desperately looking for an exit door.


Looking for a proxy strategy. The US wants to leave behind leadership that will toe US policies and prevent any future attacks on US (NOT Europe/NATO).

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby ShauryaT » 09 Mar 2009 21:18

RayC wrote:How does India fit into the new scheme of things?
This is how the plan goes.

Mullen goes to Kiyani and says, WTF are you doing, I need some progress in the Afpak area, our soldiers are getting whacked. Kiyani says, if you want some progress then get off your high horse of a stable Afghanistan et al and dump that st*pid Karzai, who is dreaming of being the King of Afghanistan. We need Afghanistan to be our backyard. If you want to make sure that these areas are not used against the west then Indian activity in Afghanistan is off limits. The Indians have built this new road, and all kinds of infrastructure and we do not want competition, not from the Indians. What can the Indians offer you anyways? You do not want to rely on Iran for your logistics and that oil pipeline from CA, do you?

Mullen says: OK, We will handle the Indians, but you make sure that you control these Talibunnies in FATA or this thing is escalating. Kiyani: OK, send is a few billions pronto and some nice toys for my boys. We will step up the pressure. See you in 5-7 years again. Bye.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby sum » 09 Mar 2009 22:01

ShauryaT wrote:Mullen goes to Kiyani and says, WTF are you doing, I need some progress in the Afpak area, our soldiers are getting whacked. Kiyani says, if you want some progress then get off your high horse of a stable Afghanistan et al and dump that st*pid Karzai, who is dreaming of being the King of Afghanistan. We need Afghanistan to be our backyard. If you want to make sure that these areas are not used against the west then Indian activity in Afghanistan is off limits. The Indians have built this new road, and all kinds of infrastructure and we do not want competition, not from the Indians. What can the Indians offer you anyways? You do not want to rely on Iran for your logistics and that oil pipeline from CA, do you?

Mullen says: OK, We will handle the Indians, but you make sure that you control these Talibunnies in FATA or this thing is escalating. Kiyani: OK, send is a few billions pronto and some nice toys for my boys. We will step up the pressure. See you in 5-7 years again. Bye

Sad but true.

By expecting Unkil to do all the dirty work for us while we keep giving moral lectures without raising a finger, it is India which finally gets the shaft :cry:

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby ramana » 09 Mar 2009 22:23

The search for good taliban is in effect an effort to separate the Pashtun nationalists from the Pashtun Islamists. As we on BRF had postulated Pashtun nationalsim was thwarted by the creation of TSP and that it morphed into the Taliban with Islam as the basis. Another factor is the factional divide among the Pashtuns with the Ghilzais joining the Taliban. I don’t see who the US plans to support Pasthun nationalism while still supportin the TSP state. Tribal heirarchies might induce some non Ghilzai tribes to opt to become good taliban, but the bad Taliban who are the face of the TSPA’s Islamist faction will remake the tribal heirarchies. One way is to create an autonomus Pashtun region in Afghanistan to assuage the Pashtun national aspiration instead of all those provinces which though they comprise Pastun region are not formally recognised as such. This can be part of re-structuring Afghanistan on federation basis. However this only takes care of Pashtuns, west of Durand Line who constitute one third of Pasthun population. The majority of Pashtuns live in TSP. And thanks to the inaction of US and action by TSP the Durand Line is effectively erased. So even the Pashtun regions of TSP need to be constituted into an autnomous region which has open borders between the two countries. The Ghilzais are mostly in the TSP areas and can gain some significant role in Pashtun governance. This way the Pashtun nationalism might be assuaged while keeping Westaphalian borders of TSP and Afghanistan. The Pashtun Islamists will be reduced in numbers and should be tackled along with all the other militant factions in TSP as part of a pacification program.
--------
Note: I use taliban for Pashtun nationalists and Taliban for Pashtun Islamists.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby NRao » 10 Mar 2009 00:31

Would all these gyrations prevent an attack on the US?

I am inclined to think that the bone of contention is the Pakistani Army, which is solely sustained by the US. These are the true Islamists that dream and support attacks beyond their own borders. In the 90s it was India, but now they have tasted blood from more distant lands and are willing to take the risks to achieve that goal.

Any of these proposals only postpones the inevitable. An attack on the US or the conversion of the UK can only be prevented if the Pakistani Army is disbanded. The sole supporter of these Islamists can then no longer provide any kind of support to the Islamists.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby ramana » 10 Mar 2009 01:09

I was trying to square the circle of good taliban, Pashtun nationalism and US limits of power and indirect strategy. By detaching the good taliban aka Pashtun nationalists it exposes the bad Taliban to US measures and that itself well set off the dynamic inside TSPA. After WWII I dont think there is any appetite for mass wars. Victory has to be with the enemy self destructing.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby Baljeet » 10 Mar 2009 01:46

Ramanaji

If US does not play ball with us, then all Taliban and Al-keeda are good guys. They are the ones who are sticking to Unkil. Hostile attitude and actions deserve hostility.

If we don't get what we want from US, then we should provide taliban ammunition. Of course we can always buy million rounds from Russia at discount.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby Prem » 10 Mar 2009 01:54

Line of No Control
India should be wary of Washington's deceptive Afghan-Pak policy

Zorawar Daulet Singh Delhi, Hardnews

Washington's reassessment of its Afghan policy is unlikely to make India happy. At least, that's what initial signs suggest
Several analysts have sought to distinguish between the Al-Qaeda and Taliban. There is an effort to revive the old argument of a ‘good' or ‘moderate' Taliban and a ‘bad' Taliban. American historian Stephen Tanner recently insisted that "the Taliban are no longer all hardcore fanatics. There are a lot of moderate elements. You have to bring the Taliban into the Afghan government, not to take it over but to at least participate." Daniel Markey, a former South Asia specialist for the State Department, recently noted, "The challenge has always been to exploit some cleavages between the top (Taliban) leadership, which we've ruled out of bounds in terms of reconciliation, and the layers one or two layers beneath them."

Former US national security advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, has also called for an accommodation of the Taliban: "I think we should try to make local accommodations with local Talibans. And if they promise to eliminate all Al-Qaeda presence, or to kill the local Al-Qaedas, we will disengage from that district."

Anatol Lieven, a veteran South Asia specialist at the New America Foundation, called for a "legitimation of political forces representing the Taliban". Recently, he wrote, "In the long run, the aim should be a radically decentralised Afghanistan in which the Taliban can be permitted to take over much of the country in return for a guarantee - under threat of aerial bombardment - not to give shelter to terrorists... The war should continue in order to put pressure on the Taliban to compromise, and in order to harass and weaken Al-Qaeda." While recognising Al-Qaeda as an irreconcilable enemy, Fareed Zakaria wrote: "...were elements of the Taliban to abandon Al-Qaeda, we would not have a pressing national-security interest in waging war against them."
worth distinguishing between Pashtun nationalists and the more radicalised Taliban who depend on certain Pashtun tribes for their support. They have historical linkages with the Pakistani security establishment. Since 1893, the border has always been perceived as artificial by the Pashtuns. And, Pashtuns in Pakistan are closely tied to the Pashtuns in eastern and southern Afghanistan. The Durand Line runs through the middle of the land of eastern Afghan Pashtun tribes. Pakistan's preferred Pashtuns are of Kandahari south-eastern origin called the ‘Taliban', who are fewer and had not suffered from division of their land. The Durranis were the most divided Pashtun tribe during the rule of the Ghilzai-dominated Taliban. Some openly opposed them. The Ghilzai Pashtuns have traditionally been opposed to the northern Durranis, and are more orthodox Sunni Muslims (Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar hails from the Ghilzai tribe).

Washington, in order to stabilise Afghanistan, appears unlikely to favour a genuine Pashtun nationalist movement. That would impact its ally, Pakistan's, territorial integrity adversely. It is more likely to support a Pashtun element that has some form of Pakistani and Sunni leverage as part of a grand reconciliation in Afghanistan. India, however, would favour a more autonomous Pashtun nationalist movement.

http://www.hardnewsmedia.com/2009/03/2718

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby Prem » 10 Mar 2009 01:58

Playing a new field
http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/news/wo ... tml?page=4

an American general spoke to the Herald on condition of anonymity, such was the sensitivity of issues discussed. He insisted his Pakistani counterparts were undergoing a genuine change of heart.

"The preservation of the state and the prestige of the army are the two essentials - if there is a threat to either, the military will react," he said. "You can tell when you see these guys - they fully understand al-Qaeda and the rest of that bunch and they don't like them. They are not faking it."

The Pakistani generals might not be ready. But as the Obama Administration grapples with the multiple levers of American power, there are signs the new Washington is listening to the likes of Rubin and Rashid.

This week alone, Obama signalled to Moscow a preparedness to back away from a controversial missile defence system in Europe, if Russia helped avert the risk of Tehran becoming nuclear-armed. His Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, jettisoned some of the Bush "axis-of-evil" baggage in revealing that Iran would be invited to a conference on the future of Afghanistan.

"It's time to move ahead, not wait in place with illusions that things will change on their own," Clinton said. "It's time for realism, as well as hope."

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby ramana » 10 Mar 2009 02:00

WOW if I hadn't posted just before this I could be accused of copying the guy. How close is the thinking!

Paul where are you? your ideas are being vindicated everyday.

BTW, the US idea of good taliban will not work unless they address Pashtun nationalism. Total non starter.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby Prem » 10 Mar 2009 02:31

Now wait and watch "oonth kis karvat baithega" i.e which side the came lie down . Either way this supposed deal will break Afghanistan as well fail to satisfy Pushtuns who will be killed by both Pakjabis as well other Afghan tribes. I forsee great war in 2012-2013.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby ramana » 10 Mar 2009 02:36

Prem, My study of TSP shows that the problem will involve Afghanistan also. This search for good tailban is a recipe for breaking Afghanistan. India cant allow that to happen without carrying the war to TSP. A remapping of both states has to be on the table.
My proposal has least risk and hurt to the issue.

Wiki on Pashtun Tribes

wiki on Ethnic Groups in Pakistan

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby Prem » 10 Mar 2009 02:54

Ramana, Sir,
If next Government is by UPA , India as usual will be onlee playing the part of onlooker and not a player. Still great game can be played with holding the remnant of rest of the friendly Afghanistan together as well exploiting interal divsions among Pushtuns. Lets see what kind of deal is offered to Iran to secure their interest in Afghanistan. They wont like Sunni Wahabi Talibans running around their border. Bakistan/Uncle will have to alienate either Iran or Talibans. They cannot have both.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby RajeshA » 10 Mar 2009 03:50

Sooner or later, Iran will be sucked in. Consider the Americans giving more space to the Taliban (there is only one coloration as far as I am concerned, good==bad). The Taliban will again start their usual Hazara/Shia hunting. Iran's influence will be pushed back. Iranian diplomats will be kidnapped......

There is a good chance, that Iran will be sucked in into Afghanistan by force. That is definitely a factor, which will play into India's favor.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby Prem » 10 Mar 2009 06:33

Rajesh,
With No clear ( no one knows) deal , Chahca has already created wedge between the aryan birathers. It needs to be sorted out before Pakbanis get clean chit from the Mai Baaps of Pakistan . Russians will be glad to help, their assistance is already seeked by Obama administration . India will be left alone if they dont act now to safeguard their interests . Parnab M has made few noices but nothing concrete. It will be shameful if spoils opf war get divided among many but nor with Indians and that too in our neighborhood. If we dont contend the AFPAK akhara , we will loose credibility on the magnitude of 61 war or loss of Tibet .

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby Bhaskar » 10 Mar 2009 10:33

Menon is in US talking with Hillary Clinton on 26/11 and ofcourse - Afghanistan .

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Menon-Hillary-discuss-Mumbai-terror-strikes/articleshow/4248410.cms
WASHINGTON: Counter-terrorism, including Mumbai terror strikes and Afghanistan, and the Sri Lankan conflict figured prominently during the talks
foreign secretary Shiv Shankar Menon had with US secretary of state Hillary Clinton on Tuesday.

Menon, who is on a four-day visit to the US, met Clinton at the state department and discussed with her key bilateral and regional issues, including the current situation in Afghanistan.

Obama administration considers India as a key regional player in restoring lasting peace in Afghanistan.

"The meeting lasted for about half an hour. Among key issues discussed at the meeting included Sri Lanka, non-proliferation, counter-terrorism including Mumbai and Afghanistan," a state department official said.

However, Indian diplomats were not available for comments.

The official said news reports about the US army carrying out civilian rescue operation in Sri Lanka did not figure during the talks between Menon and Clinton.

He said the ongoing conflict between the Sri Lankan army and the LTTE and the current humanitarian situation in Sri Lanka was discussed during the meeting.

This is the first high-level Indo-US interaction after President Barack Obama assumed office on January 20.

Menon, during the course of the day, also met under secretary for political affairs William Burns and deputy secretary of state James Steinberg.

The foreign secretary is scheduled to meet Richard Holbrooke, the special US representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan, and several key Congressional leaders later in the day.

Before the meeting, state department spokesman Robert Wood appreciated the role played by Menon in Indo-US civil nuclear deal.

"Foreign Secretary Menon was a key player in terms of helping bring about or brokering the -- the US-India nuclear -- civil nuclear accord," Wood told reporters at his daily press briefing.

The United States values its relationship with India, he said.

Military strategies not enough: India, US agree on Afghanistan
India and the US on Tuesday agreed that military strategies alone are not enough to bring lasting peace to Afghanistan.

"On improving the situation in Afghanistan, they agreed that military strategies alone are not enough to bring stability to the region and that other issues such as economic development and rule of law are also vital to success," Mike Hammer, national security council spokesman, said after the meeting.

The meeting between Menon and General Jones lasted for 45 minutes. This was the first time that Jones met a top Indian official.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby Philip » 10 Mar 2009 12:42

Three reports on the situ in Af-Pak and that the coalition led by the US is not winning there! With eelctions due and Karzai out of favour of Uncle Sam,the nation is up for grabs.Add to this the fact that pak is also up for grabs and one sees that India has some very urgent fire-fighting to do in the future and had better work out all its diplomatic and military options well in advance.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/

British-born Muslims supplied equipment to al-Qaeda
Three British-born Muslims acted as quartermasters, supplying equipment to the Taliban and al-Qaeda fighting British squaddies on the Pakistani-Afghani border.

'Taliban have achieved stalemate in Afghanistan'
US general: coalition not winning in southern Afghanistan

General David McKiernan: Taliban have achieved stalemate in Afghanistan
International forces are "not winning" their battle against the Taliban in southern Afghanistan, the head of the Nato-led coalition has said.

By Ben Farmer in Kabul
Last Updated: 9:16AM GMT 09 Mar 2009

General David McKiernan said while progress was being made in parts of the country, in southern Afghanistan, where the majority of Britain's 8,500 troops are stationed, more had to be done.

His remarks come a day after President Barack Obama also said America was not winning in Afghanistan.

And David Miliband, the foreign secretary, recently warned of a "strategic stalemate" in parts of the country.

General McKiernan said: "There are other areas – large areas in the southern Afghanistan especially but in parts of the east – where we are not winning, where more has to happen along multiple lines of operation in order for anybody by any metric to say that the Afghans are winning or the efforts of the coalition are winning."

General McKiernan has asked for tens of thousands of reinforcements and President Obama has ordered 17,000 more US soldiers to the country.

President Obama has also opened the door to talks with moderate elements of the Taliban.

Commanders have described the situation in the southern province of Helmand Province, where British troops have been fighting for nearly three years, as "stalemate".

Thinly stretched British forces hold of string of district centres, but much of the countryside remains too dangerous for government officials or aid workers.

A deadly insurgency campaign of roadside bombings has seen the British suffer their deadliest 12 months since the Afghan campaign began.

A combat brigade of several thousand US marines is due to arrive in Helmand this summer and fighting is expected to intensify further.



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