It was U.S. Gen. David Petraeus’ turn before Congressional leaders on Wednesday and the head of U.S. Central Command said U.S. officials should wait until December 2010 before they can measure the progress of the troop surge.
He predicted the surge will be met by an increase in violence in spring 2010 and a rise in "security incidents" in the summer.
"While certainly different and in some ways tougher than Iraq, Afghanistan is no more hopeless than Iraq was when I took command there in February 2007," Petraeus told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
"Indeed the level of violence and number of violent civilian deaths in Iraq were vastly higher than we have seen in Afghanistan, but achieving progress in Afghanistan will be hard and the progress there likely will be slower in developing than progress was achieved in Iraq."
Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari has an op-ed in the New York Times today entitled, “How to mend fences with Pakistan.”
“Now that President Obama has recommitted the United States to stand with Pakistan and Afghanistan in our common fight against terrorism, extremism and fanaticism, it would be useful for Americans and Pakistanis to consider what has brought us to this point — and what the conflict’s true endgame must be,” Zardari writes.
Some other reports and perspectives:
- Nikolas K. Gvosdev (Foreign Affairs): “What the United States can learn from the Soviet war in Afghanistan”
- Noah Shachtman (Wired): "U.S. military joins CIA’s drone war in Pakistan"
- Charlie Rose: An interview with U.S. Gen. Stanley McChrystal
- Robin Wright (Washington Post): “The real stakes in Afghanistan”
- Institute for the study of war: “The Taliban’s campaign for Kandahar”
- Azeem Ibrahim (Los Angeles Times): “Afghanistan’s way forward must include Taliban”