US worried over lack of larger plan in Afghanistan: CSM

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Washington, Aug 29 : The US is worried about the lack of a larger plan to improve the deteriorating security scenario in Afghanistan as senior defence officials are debating how many troops they can send there and how soon to bring the situation under control.

The Christian Science Monitor (CSM) reports that as political pressure mounts to do more to stop the violence in Afghanistan, there is an increasing fear in the Pentagon that sending in more forces is just a stopgap measure that masks the absence of a broader, viable strategy.

"To a certain extent, we have boxed ourselves into the idea that additional troops is a panacea for revising strategy. That in and of itself becomes the strategy," a senior Pentagon official said."

More troops mean that more security is required, said the military official. But he and others don't think the conversation inside the Pentagon or at the national level has matured past that.

Other officials' fear that plans to withdraw more troops from Iraq offers a convenient way to send more to Afghanistan, without a plan for how they would be used or to what objective.

That thinking suggests that Iraq and Afghanistan are one and the same, says the official, when in fact they are different, not only in terms of US interests but in what can be done on the ground.

Any attempt to reassess US strategy in Afghanistan is made more difficult by two factors that don't exist in Iraq: Much of the violence in Afghanistan stems from terrorist sanctuaries across the border in Pakistan, where coalition forces generally cannot tread.

And responsibility lies with a NATO coalition of forces, which means the US has to walk a political tightrope as it sorts out what needs to be done and who should do it, the CSM reports.

Experts outside the Pentagon say that though oil-rich Iraq is considered strategically more important, given its proximity to Iran, the US cannot afford to lose in Afghanistan, which is in a region critical to US geo-political interests.

ANI

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