Defense Officials: Afghan Situation Dire, More Troops Needed

Militants 'Could Literally Take Down' Pakistani State, Petraeus Warns

by Jason Ditz, April 01, 2009

Less than a week ago, the Obama Administration unveiled a “new, comprehensive strategy” for Afghanistan and Pakistan, which included massive increases in spending as well as adding yet more troops to the ongoing surge in Afghanistan.

Now, days later, top defense officials have informed Congress that the situation in Pakistan and Afghanistan is growing worse by the day, and that the brand new strategy is no longer enough. SOCOM head Admiral Eric Olson described the situation as “increasingly dire.” At the same time, foreign military figures in Afghanistan have said they expect the surge to be a “game changer” and to cause a significant spike in militant attacks in that nation.

Beyond that, while acknowledging that Pakistan had “betrayed America’s trust in the past,” General David Petraeus warned that Pakistan’s militants “could literally take down their state” if the US didn’t intervene. Undersecretary of Defense Michele Flournoy added that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Agency “are certainly a problem to be dealt with.” Recently, US officials have accused the ISI of providing direct support for the militants in Afghanistan.

Their solution, unsurprisingly, is the same solution that keeps getting presented as new – more troops. Officials say that another 10,000 troops may need to be sent on top of what has already been pledged.

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