by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) May 11, 2017
The head of US intelligence agencies offered a pessimistic assessment Thursday of the security situation in Afghanistan, where the US government is planning to send more troops to combat resurgent Islamic extremists.
"The political and security situation in Afghanistan will also almost certainly deteriorate through 2018, even with a modest increase in the military assistance by the US and its partners," Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said at a hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
"Afghanistan will struggle to curb its dependence on external support until it contains the insurgency or reaches a peace agreement with the Taliban," Coats told lawmakers in presenting an annual assessment of threats to US national security.
US-led forces have been fighting in Afghanistan for almost 16 years, making it America's longest war, yet the situation there remains a stalemate.
General Vincent Stewart, head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, said if the situation was not addressed, the US-led alliance risked losing the fragile gains it had made during the protracted conflict.
"Unless we change something... the situation will continue to deteriorate and we'll lose all the gains that we've invested in over the last several years," he said.
That new beefing-up of efforts would include sending US and NATO advisers at brigade and battalion level to help Afghan commanders coordinate troop movements with artillery, intelligence or close air support, he said.
The Taliban, which first emerged in the mid-1990s in southern Afghanistan, managed to conquer most of the country before its 2001 ouster, with the help of a range of foreign jihadists, including Pakistanis, Saudis and Chechens.
But it has been on the rebound, Coates said, and continues to gain strength.
"The Taliban is likely to continue to make gains, especially in rural areas," said the US spy chief, adding that efforts to bolster local military have been less fruitful than hoped.
"Afghan security forces' performance will probably worsen due to a combination of Taliban operations, combat casualties, desertions, poor logistics support, weak leadership," he said.
"Afghanistan will struggle to curb its dependence on external support until it contains the insurgency or reaches a peace agreement with the Taliban."
America has about 8,400 troops in Afghanistan. Most belong to a 13,300-strong NATO mission to train and advise Afghan partner forces fighting the Taliban.
Last month, the United States dropped the largest non-nuclear bomb ever deployed in combat in Afghanistan, targeting an Islamic State group complex.
London (AFP) May 10, 2017
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday that military chiefs wanted a few thousand more troops from the alliance to be deployed in Afghanistan to help combat Islamist insurgents. The troops were needed to train local forces, Stoltenberg told reporters following talks with British Prime Minister Theresa May at her Downing Street office in London. "We have received a request ... read more
News From Across The Stans
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|