HIGHLIGHTS-White House review of Afghanistan war

WASHINGTON, Dec 16 (BestGrowthStock)- A White House review of
President Barack Obama’s Afghanistan war strategy reported on
Thursday that foreign forces are making headway against the
Taliban and al Qaeda but that serious challenges remain.
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Below are highlights from the unclassified summary of the
White House review.

THE OVERVIEW

“Specific components of our strategy for Afghanistan and
Pakistan are working well and there are notable operational
gains.

“Most important, al-Qa’ida’s senior leadership in Pakistan
is weaker and under more sustained pressure than at any other
point since it fled Afghanistan in 2001. In Pakistan, we are
laying the foundation for a strategic partnership based on
mutual respect and trust, through increased dialogue, improved
cooperation, and enhanced exchange and assistance programs. And
in Afghanistan, the momentum achieved by the Taliban in recent
years has been arrested in much of the country and reversed in
some key areas, although these gains remain fragile and
reversible.

“While the strategy is showing progress across all three
assessed areas of al-Qa’ida, Pakistan and Afghanistan, the
challenge remains to make our gains durable and sustainable.”

DEFEATING AL QAEDA

“Al-Qa’ida’s eventual strategic defeat will be most
effectively achieved through the denial of sanctuaries in the
region and the elimination of the group’s remaining leadership
cadre. Even achieving these goals, however, will not completely
eliminate the terrorist threat to U.S. interests.”

PAKISTAN CENTRAL

“Pakistan is central to our efforts to defeat al-Qa’ida and
prevent its return to the region.

“Progress in our relationship with Pakistan over the last
year has been substantial, but also uneven. We worked jointly
in the last year to disrupt the threat posed by al-Qa’ida, and
Pakistan has made progress against extremist safe havens,
taking action in six of seven agencies of the Federally
Administered Tribal Areas.”

SURGE SEEN WORKING

“As a result of our integrated efforts in 2010, we are
setting the conditions to begin transition to Afghan security
lead in early 2011 and to begin a responsible, conditions-based
U.S. troop reduction in July 2011.

“The surge in coalition military and civilian resources,
along with an expanded special operations forces targeting
campaign and expanded local security measures at the village
level, has reduced overall Taliban influence and arrested the
momentum they had achieved in recent years in key parts of the
country.”

FORGING AHEAD

“While the momentum achieved by the Taliban in recent years
has been arrested in much of the country and reversed in some
key areas, these gains remain fragile and reversible.

“Consolidating those gains will require that we make more
progress with Pakistan to eliminate sanctuaries for violent
extremist networks. Durability also requires continued work
with Afghanistan to transfer cleared areas to their security
forces.

“We are also supporting Afghanistan’s efforts to better
improve national and sub-national governance, and to build
institutions with increased transparency and accountability to
reduce corruption — key steps in sustaining the Afghan
government.”

SUPPORT FOR RECONCILIATION TALKS WITH TALIBAN

“In 2011, we will intensify our regional diplomacy to
enable a political process to promote peace and stability in
Afghanistan, to include Afghan-led reconciliation, taking
advantage of the momentum created by the recent security
gains.”

(Reporting by Missy Ryan; Editing by Sandra Maler)

HIGHLIGHTS-White House review of Afghanistan war