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Sunday
Nov142010

Afghan Strategy Not Working? Narrow Mission, Report Recommends

Photo Courtesy - U.S. Department of Defense(WASHINGTON) -- As the Obama administration begins to review its Afghan war strategy, an independent task force on U.S. policy on Afghanistan and Pakistan is recommending a "more significant drawdown to a narrower military mission" if the current strategy does not begin showing signs of progress. Although the task force, directed by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), offered a qualified endorsement of President Obama's approach to the region, it highlighted "a number of potential problems with the policy."

"If the December 2010 review of U.S. strategy in Afghanistan concludes that the present strategy is not working, the Task Force recommends that a shift to a more limited mission at a substantially reduced level of military force would be warranted," CFR president Richard Haass wrote in the report's foreword.

The report said that "the Obama administration will need to find a way to address the government's weakness, corruption, and political division." It also recommended that Washington take the lead in reconciliation between the Taliban and the Afghan government -- a recommendation also made by the New America Foundation's Afghanistan Study Group.

"Rather than leaving the reconciliation process to [Afghan] President Karzai and his narrow support base, Washington should participate fully in guiding a broad-based, inclusive process, bearing in mind that a rapid breakthrough at the negotiating table is unlikely. Afghan reform and reconciliation should then be supported by a regional diplomatic accord brokered by the United States," the report states.

The recommendations come amid a recent drumbeat of positive assessments of the nine-year-old war effort by top Pentagon officials.

"I would hope that it would be that people would recognize that we're making progress in Afghanistan -- that this is worth doing and that the sacrifices our young men and women are making is, in fact, producing success," Secretary of Defense Robert Gates told ABC News earlier this week.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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