U.S. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who leads U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said on Thursday that though the situation in that nation is still “serious,” he no longer thinks that it is “deteriorating.”
“I think I said that last summer, and I believed that that was correct,” he said while speaking to the press in Istanbul. “I feel differently now. I am not prepared to say that we’ve turned the corner so I’m saying that the situation is serious.”
“But I think we have made significant progress in setting the conditions in 2009 … and that we’ll make some real progress in 2010."
Meanwhile, several news agencies have pieces warning of a possible backlash in Pakistan following a bombing on Wednesday that killed three U.S. soldiers and at least five others there
Michael Georgy of Reuters writes in an analysis piece that the bombing “could further weaken the government and hurt U.S. efforts to win more backing in the fight against militants.”
“While the presence of U.S. soldiers to train paramilitary forces is hardly a secret, it is a highly sensitive matter in Pakistan, where anti-American anger runs high.”
Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter writes: “It has been a poorly kept secret that the CIA and even U.S troops have been operating in Pakistan for years. But now the aggressive Pakistan media can no longer be convinced to look the other way.
"The proud army of half a million troops needs our help. But don't expect Pakistanis to cop to it. Instead, they will now just step up the anti-Americanism. Chalk it up to ‘no good deed goes unpunished.’”
The Christian Science Monitor reports that Pakistani reaction has been muted thus far. “While some analysts had predicted the incident would crystallize Pakistani resistance to the U.S. presence here, since Pakistani children were among the victims, a backlash has failed to materialize,” writes the Monitor’s Issam Ahmed.