First Barack Obama wanted U.S. troops out of Iraq. Then he wanted more U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Then Pakistan took some of his interest. Less than 30 days into his presidency, people started talking in terms of “Pak-Af,” or one gigantic potboiler of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Today the president announced that the United States must “disrupt, defeat and dismantle” the al-Qaida terrorist organization and the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
President Barack Obama announced an escalation in Afghanistan; committing 4,200 more troops and hundreds more civilians, and embracing a new system of benchmarks to measure progress.
“He’s gone all in,” said an official briefed on the plan. “This is Obama’s war. He’s pushed all the chips to the center of the table.”
By CARLOTTA GALL
The New York Times
After agreeing to bury their differences and unite forces, Taliban leaders based in Pakistan have closed ranks with their Afghan comrades to ready a new offensive in Afghanistan as the United States prepares to send 17,000 more troops there this year.
In interviews, several Taliban fighters based in the border region said preparations for the anticipated influx of American troops were already being made. A number of new, younger commanders have been preparing to step up a campaign of roadside bombings and suicide attacks to greet the Americans, the fighters said.
The refortified alliance was forged after the reclusive Afghan Taliban leader, Mullah Muhammad Omar, sent emissaries to persuade Pakistani Taliban leaders to join forces and turn their attention to Afghanistan, Pakistani officials and Taliban members said.
From The Times of India:
“You know something big and spooky is cooking when the three top intelligence honchos in the United States visit India” before any other new Obama cabinet officials.