Deeply concerned about the prospect of failure in Afghanistan, the Bush administration and NATO have begun three top-to-bottom reviews of the entire mission, from security and counterterrorism to political consolidation and economic development, according to American and alliance officials.
The reviews are an acknowledgment of the need for greater coordination in fighting the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, halting the rising opium production and trafficking that finances the insurgency and helping the Kabul government extend its legitimacy and control.
Taken together, these efforts reflect a growing apprehension that one of the administration’s most important legacies — the routing of Taliban and Qaeda forces in Afghanistan after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 — may slip away, according to senior administration officials.
Unlike the administration’s sweeping review of Iraq policy a year ago, which was announced with great fanfare and ultimately resulted in a large increase in troops, the American reviews of the Afghan strategy have not been announced and are not expected to result in a similar infusion of combat forces, mostly because there are no American troops readily available. [complete article]