Friday, March 27, 2009

Bin Laden Planning New 'Man-Caused Disasters'?

Looks like Barack Obama will stop cracking jokes for a fe minutes today and announce troop increases in Afghanistan, all while reports indicate Osama bin Laden may still be active.
The strategy will have a unified military goal -- to disrupt, dismantle and eventually destroy al Qaeda's sanctuaries in Pakistan and its support network and prevent it from establishing safe havens in Afghanistan.

The officials said al Qaeda leaders, including Osama bin Laden, were believed to be in an unknown location in Pakistan plotting fresh attacks on the United States and its allies. U.S.-led forces invaded Afghanistan after al Qaeda launched the September 11 attacks on the United States.

If the administration stresses its focus on combating al Qaeda too much, it risks exacerbating Afghans' fears that the West is not interested in their welfare and will abandon them. That could play into the hands of the Taliban.

Under the new strategy, the United States will also "aggressively" pursue a regional diplomatic effort; set benchmarks to measure its performance as well as those of NATO member states, Afghanistan and Pakistan; and boost economic aid to Pakistan to shore up the weak civilian government.

Initial descriptions of the strategy left many questions about Pakistan unanswered.

Many experts believe the nuclear-armed country's instability and its al Qaeda safe havens present a far greater threat to U.S. national security than Afghanistan.

As part of the new diplomatic effort, the United States will engage India, Russia, China and Iran, and Obama's special envoy to the region, Richard Holbrooke, will hold bilateral meetings with Afghanistan and Pakistan every six to eight weeks, the officials said.

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