Dangers increase as Afpak decision nears
By Ben Pershing
As President Obama's decision nears on how to proceed in Afghanistan, the dangers there for American forces appear to be multiplying.
October has been the deadliest month yet for U.S. troops in the Afghanistan war, a story that is dominating the morning headlines. The Associated Press notes that the death toll reached "a record level for the third time in four months," and the Wall Street Journal reports that "Taliban attacks in Afghanistan have grown in sophistication in recent months, causing a spike in coalition deaths." Another attack hit Wednesday morning, with a half-dozen UN personnel reportedly being killed by gunmen in Kabul. Violence has also flared up in Pakistan, where Hillary Clinton arrived for an unannounced visit Wednesday just as a bombing killed more than 80 people in Peshawar.
The New York Times has a pair of Afghan-related scoops on its front. The first: The brother of Afghan president Hamid Karzai is on the CIA payroll, ties which"raise significant questions about America's war strategy" and "have created deep divisions within the Obama administration." The second: Obama's "advisers are focusing on a strategy for Afghanistan aimed at protecting about 10 top population centers," as "the debate is no longer over whether to send more troops, but how many more will be needed." (Jake Tapper reported Monday that Obama was likely to approve fewer than 40,000 troops, and that he would likely announce it between Nov. 7 and 11.) One official describes the likely strategy to the Times as "McChrystal for the city, Biden for the country," which sounds like a line from a men's clothing catalogue. The Los Angeles Times writes that Obama's relationship with McChrystal is much more conventional than the one President Bush forged with David Petraeus.
Posted at 8:26 AM ET on Oct 28, 2009
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