An Economist report says an “important shift may be under way” in Helmand Province, located in southern Afghanistan.
“An influx of thousands of American troops last year has helped push the Taliban out of much of the Helmand river valley. Higher troop levels mean that hard-won battles are no longer followed by retreat behind safe lines but instead by stepped-up patrols everywhere,” the Economist writes.
The report adds, “None of this means the war is being won. There may be less fighting, but the Taliban have not disappeared: they simply plant roadside bombs instead of setting ambushes.”
Marc A. Thiessen, in a recently published opinion piece at Foreign Policy, asks the question: “Is Barack Obama killing too many bad guys before the U.S. can interrogate them?”
“President Barack Obama's escalation of drone strikes is one area in the counterterrorism fight where he has earned plaudits from even his most vocal critics on the right. Hold the applause,” Thiessen writes.
“Obama's escalation of the ‘Predator War’ comes at the very same time he has eliminated the CIA's capability to capture senior terrorist leaders alive and interrogate them for information on new attacks.”
Some other news reports and perspectives:
– Pamela Constable (Washington Post): “Conservative Sunni activism reemerges in heart of Pakistan"
– Karin Brulliard and Haq Nawaz Khan (Washington Post): “Pakistan officials '100 percent' certain Taliban's Mehsud is dead”
– Yaroslav Trofimov (Wall Street Journal): "New battles test U.S. strategy in Afghanistan"
– S. Mudassir Ali Shah (Pahjwok): "UNODC predicts stable opium crop in 2010"
– Haseeb Humayoon (Institute for the Study of War): “The re-election of Hamid Karzai”