Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Beginning of The End?

Reports are circulating in America that US intelligence analysts are putting the final touches on a secret National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Afghanistan that reportedly describes the situation as "grim", but there are "no plans to declassify" any of it before the election, according to one US official familiar with the process. According to people who have been briefed, the NIE will detail the situation in Afghanistan, seven years after the US invaded in an effort to dismantle the al Qaeda network and its Taliban protectors.

Seth Jones, an expert on Afghanistan at the Rand Corporation think tank, called the situation in Afghanistan "dire." "We are now at a tipping point, with about half of the country now penetrated by a range of Sunni militant groups including the Taliban and al Queida," Jones said. Jones said there is growing concern that Dutch and Canadian forces in Afghanistan would "call it quits. The US military would then need six, eight, maybe ten brigades but we just don't have that money," Jones said.

Last week, Admiral Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Congress "we're running out of time" in Afghanistan. "I'm not convinced we're winning it in Afghanistan," Adm. Mullen testified.Perhaps foreshadowing the NIE assessment on Afghanistan, Adm. Mullen told Congress, "absent a broader international and interagency approach to the problems there, it is my professional opinion that no amount of troops in no amount of time can ever achieve all the objectives we seek in Afghanistan."

So, that seems to suggest the end of hostilities in Afghanistan. Our forces announce that they see no military solution - the mantra in almost all terrorist wars going back a long way. The change in leadership after the elections will allow a new perspective without embarrassment. Money will be the decider; the problems at home will surely preclude any furter adventures. The post-mortem on Iraq and on Afghanistan would highlight decision needed about what has to be done regarding Iran. We are not achieving anything in Afghanistan that could not be attained at far less cost in lives and money were we to withdraw and concentrate in detecting terrorists and terrorist plans within UK.

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This is the article that discusses the report - if there is one that is!

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