Sunday, December 19, 2010

What's Going on In Afghanistan: What are the "success" indicators of war?

Red Cross Warns of Deteriorating Conditions in Afghanistan

While the Obama administration touted the Afghan war in Washington, the International Committee of the Red Cross issued a rare public statement warning of a dire situation on the ground. The Red Cross says conditions for delivering aid in Afghanistan are at their lowest point in the 30 years since the group first entered the country under Soviet occupation. Red Cross spokesperson Bijan Farnoudi said he expects the suffering of Afghan civilians to increase next year.
Bijan Farnoudi: "Our assessment is that we’re worried. We’re worried about more displacement, we’re worried about more civilian casualties, we’re worried about more difficulties with people to access healthcare, and we’re worried about more armed groups being around. If you say that we’re expecting more of the same for 2011, that would be putting it mildly.

War Review Claims U.S. Progress in Afghanistan

The new guidelines come as President Obama unveiled a military strategy review claiming the United States is achieving its main war aims in Afghanistan.
President Obama: "I want to be clear: this continues to be a very difficult endeavor, but I can report that, thanks to the extraordinary service of our troops and civilians on the ground, we are on track to achieve our goals. It’s important to remember why we remain in Afghanistan. It was Afghanistan where al-Qaeda plotted the 9/11 attacks that murdered 3,000 innocent people. It is the tribal regions along the Afghan-Pakistan border from which terrorists have launched more attacks against our homeland and our allies. And if an even wider insurgency were to engulf Afghanistan, that would give al-Qaeda even more space to plan these attacks."
Appearing with Obama, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates addressed this week’s disclosure that the most recent National Intelligence Estimates on Afghanistan and Pakistan differ sharply from the Pentagon’s conclusions. The estimates conclude the United States cannot achieve its goals in Afghanistan unless Pakistan wipes out militants on its side of the border and ends covert support for the Afghan Taliban.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates: "Pakistan has committed over 140,000 troops to operations in extremist safe havens along the border in coordination with Afghan and coalition forces on the Afghan side. Though we believe the Pakistanis can and must do more to shut down the flow of insurgents across the border, it is important to remember that these kinds of military operations in the tribal areas would have been considered unthinkable just two years ago." 

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