US commander in Afghanistan calls for fresh strategy to deal with Taliban

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Kabul/Washington, Sep.1 (ANI): The commander of American forces in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, has called for a revised military strategy, suggesting the current one is failing.

In a strategic assessment, General McChrystal said while the Afghan situation was serious, success was still achievable.

The report has not yet been published, but sources say General McChrystal sees protecting the Afghan people against the Taliban as an issue of top priority.

According to the BBC, the report does not carry a direct call for increasing troop numbers, but says the situation in Afghanistan is serious.

Copies of the document have been sent to NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and US Defence Secretary Robert Gates.

Gates has said that he is yet to see the report he expected it to show that there were "challenges that remain before us... and areas where we can do better" in Afghanistan.

The report came as further results from last week's presidential election were released, with ballots now counted from almost 48 percent of polling stations. President Hamid Karzai is leading so far, with 45.8 percent of the votes counted and key rival and former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah retaining over 33 percent of the vote.

Gen McChrystal's blunt assessment will say that the Afghan people are undergoing a crisis of confidence because the war against the Taliban has not made their lives better.

The general says the aim should be for Afghan forces to take the lead. He will also warn that villages have to be taken from the Taliban and held, not merely taken.

General McChrystal also wants more engagement with the Taliban fighters and believes that 60 percent of the problem would go away if they could be found jobs.

The latest Washington Post-ABC news poll suggests that only 49 percent of Americans now think the fight in Afghanistan is worth it.

The Obama administration is presently projecting that the problem in Afghanistan is the creation of the previous George W. Bush administration and blames it for fighting the wrong war (Iraq) rather than concentrating its efforts on Afghanistan. (ANI)

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