Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Centcom commander wants aggressive Afghan push this year

The top American commander for the Middle East wants a more aggressive Afghan military pressuring Taliban and other insurgents over the normally quieter months of Afghanistan's winter, and then quickly going on the offensive in the spring. It's all part of a plan the United States hopes will change the course of a war now entering its 17th year.

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Gen Joseph Votel of US Central Command said an influx of new American trainers can help escalate the fight.

They'll be operating with Afghan units, closer to the front lines and at greater risk, but Votel said US commanders will ensure American and allied forces have adequate protection.

The plan was designed to reverse a stalemate in America's longest war and a major focus of the strategy is to persuade Pakistan to eliminate alleged safe havens for the Taliban and other fighters.

As 2018 begins, Afghanistan appears to be high on President Donald Trump's agenda. On New Year's Day, he slammed Pakistan in a tweet for "lies & deceit," accusing Islamabad of playing US leaders for "fools" by not crushing militants in its territory.

Pakistan's Ambassador to the UN Maleeha Lodhi responded, "We have contributed and sacrificed the most in fighting international terrorism and carried out the largest counterterrorism operation anywhere in the world."

Lodhi said the US "should not shift the blame for their own mistakes and failures onto others. We can review our cooperation if it is not appreciated."

Afghan army training (yes, these videos are for real)

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Votel said as the coalition builds up the Afghan Air Force and trains more security forces, the Afghans will become better fighters.

"By the time they get to the next fight," he said, "they will be able to really present a significant offensive capability."
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Watch those videos and say that again with a straight face.

#1 | Posted by J_Tremain at 2018-01-03 03:25 AM

an influx of new American trainers can help escalate the fight.

They'll be operating with Afghan units, closer to the front lines and at greater risk, but Votel said US commanders will ensure American and allied forces have adequate protection.

Tell it to this guy...

www.bbc.com

A US service member was killed and four US troops were wounded during a "combat engagement" in Afghanistan on New Year's Day, the Pentagon has said.

The soldier died in Achin, Nangarhar province, along the Pakistan border - an area which has become a stronghold for the so-called Islamic State (IS).

#2 | Posted by J_Tremain at 2018-01-03 03:46 AM

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