National security team gives grim appraisal of Afghanistan War

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Munich (Germany), Feb.9 (ANI): President Barack Obama's national security team has given a dire assessment of the war in Afghanistan, with one official calling it a challenge "much tougher than Iraq" and others hinting that it could take years to turn around.U.S. officials said more troops were urgently needed, both from America and its NATO allies, to counter the increasing strength of the Taliban and warlords opposed to the central government in Kabul.

According to the Washington Post, they also said new approaches were needed to untangle an inefficient and conflicting array of civilian-aid programs that have wasted billions of dollars.General David H. Petraeus, head of the U.S. Central Command, said the war in Afghanistan "has deteriorated markedly in the past two years" and warned of a "downward spiral of security."

In addition to more combat troops, Petraeus called for "a surge in civilian capacity" to help rebuild villages, train local police forces, tackle corruption in the Afghan government and reduce the country's thriving opium trade.

He also suggested that the odds of success were low, given that foreign military powers have historically met with defeat in Afghanistan.

"Afghanistan has been known over the years as the graveyard of empires," he said. "We cannot take that history lightly."

The White House is conducting a strategic review of the war in Afghanistan and says it will unveil the results before NATO holds a 60th-anniversary summit in early April.

Obama administration officials have said they expect to send 30,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, bringing the total U.S. deployment there to about 66,000. U.S. allies have a combined 32,000 troops in Afghanistan operating under NATO command. (ANI)

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