Obama unveils revamped strategy for Afghanistan
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President Barack Obama says the US will imploy new tactics for defeating al Qaeda and the Taliban-led insurgency in Afghanistan, including broader diplomatic engagement, the deployment of 4,000 more troops and new reconstruction efforts.
US President Barack Obama unveiled new strategies for defeating al Qaeda and a Taliban-led insurgency in Afghanistan on Friday in a speech at the White House.
The new proposals call for the deployment of an additional 4,000 troops to train Afghan security forces and sending hundreds of civilian US government personnel to help with reconstruction and development programs.
Administration officials say the United States is also ready to engage with China, Russia, India and even Iran in a broader diplomatic effort to bring security to Afghanistan. As part of the new push, US special envoy Richard Holbrooke will hold meetings with Afghan and Pakistani officials every six to eight weeks.
“This is a comprehensive approach to dealing with a critical, unstable region,” Alex Their, an expert on Afghanistan at the US Institute of Peace, told Reuters.
In a wider regional effort, the United States will increase aid to neighbouring Pakistan to help Islamabad defeat militancy in the lawless areas along the border with Afghanistan.
In return, Obama called on Islamabad to be a "stronger partner" in the fight against Al Qaeda, which he said was planning new attacks against the United States from safe havens within Pakistan.
One US official said clearly defined targets will help Washington judge the effectiveness of its new tactics in the region and enable “mid-course corrections” if necessary.
Obama will present the new strategy to NATO allies late next week at the alliance’s annual summit. The United States will also seek new military commitments from NATO member states.
FRANCE 24's international affairs editor, Armen Georgian, says Obama's real challenge will be to convince alliance allies to contribute more resources to the fight and ensure "that NATO members are on the same page".
The latest deployments come on top of an additional 17,000 troops that Obama sent to Afghanistan earlier this year.
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