UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

August 23, 2009

TOP OFFICIALS: AFGHAN SITUATION DETERIORATING

Helene Cooper, NY Times - American military commanders with the NATO mission in Afghanistan told President Obama's chief envoy to the region this weekend that they did not have enough troops to do their job, pushed past their limit by Taliban rebels who operate across borders. . . The possibility that more troops will be needed in Afghanistan presents the Obama administration with another problem in dealing with a nearly eight-year war that has lost popularity at home, compounded by new questions over the credibility of the Afghan government, which has just held an as-yet inconclusive presidential election beset by complaints of fraud.

Reuters - The situation in Afghanistan is deteriorating along with U.S. public support for the war, Washington's top military officer said as he left open the possibility of another increase in troops. "I think it is serious and it is deteriorating, and I've said that over the past couple of years -- that the Taliban insurgency has gotten better, more sophisticated," said Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff. . . A new Washington Post-ABC News poll showed a majority of Americans believe the war in Afghanistan is not worth fighting, and just a quarter say more troops should be sent there. . . Obama already plans to increase the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan to about 68,000 by year's end, more than double the 32,000 the United States had there at the end of 2008. Mullen declined to comment on U.S. media reports that McChyrstal might recommend additional increases of 15,000, 25,000 or 45,000 troops.


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