June 14, 2010

Excerpt, Setbacks Cloud U.S. Plans in Afghanistan By PETER BAKER and MARK LANDLER, New York Times Published: June 14, 2010


“Things are not looking good,” said Bruce O. Riedel, a regional specialist at the Brookings Institution who helped formulate the administration’s first Afghan strategy in early 2009. “There’s not much sign of the turnaround that people were hoping for.”

Persistent violence in the southern area around Marja, which was supposed to be an early showcase of the new counterinsurgency operation, has reinforced doubts in Washington about the current approach — doubts only fueled by President Hamid Karzai’s abrupt dismissal of two security officials widely trusted by the Americans.

As he manages that situation, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the commander in Afghanistan, said last week that operations in the Taliban heartland of Kandahar “will happen more slowly than we originally anticipated.”

Other military officers, were more pessimistic. “If anybody thinks Kandahar will be solved this year,” a senior military officer said, “they are kidding themselves.”

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