Washington, Oct 16 : The new head of the US Central Command has launched a major reassessment of American strategy for Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq and the surrounding region.
General David H. Petraeus also warned about the lack of development and the spiraling violence in Afghanistan will likely make it "the longest campaign of the long war."
The 100-day assessment will result in a new campaign plan for the Middle East and Central Asia, a region in which General Petraeus will oversee the operations of more than 200,000 American troops, beginning October 31.
The review will formally begin next month, but experts and military officials involved said General Petraeus is already focused on at least two major themes: Government-led reconciliation of Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the leveraging of diplomatic and economic initiatives with nearby countries that are influential in the war.
The review comes as General Petraeus, who led a counterinsurgency effort credited with drastically reducing attack levels in Iraq, faces widespread expectations that he will find a way to arrest escalating violence and US troop casualties in Afghanistan, fueled by growing militant havens in Pakistan.
"The effort in Afghanistan is going to be the longest campaign of the long war," General Petraeus said in a meeting yesterday with Washington Post reporters and editors.
"The biggest lesson of counterinsurgency is that every situation is unique. You have to be very careful to have that nuanced understanding . . . of the circumstances on the ground," he said.
General Petraeus is recruiting a brain trust of advisers much as he did for Iraq, taking the studious approach that has become the hallmark of the four-star general who holds a doctorate in international relations from Princeton University.