THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING

RAND report urges new Afghan strategy

US Marines and French troops patrolled yesterday on armored vehicles in Afghanistan's Alassay valley. US Marines and French troops patrolled yesterday on armored vehicles in Afghanistan's Alassay valley. (Joel Saget/ AFP/ Getty Images)
Associated Press / February 17, 2009
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WASHINGTON - As President Barack Obama prepares to send troops to war for the first time as commander in chief, a new report says a "game-changing" strategy is urgently needed in Afghanistan to save the faltering international campaign.

"All is not lost in Afghanistan," RAND Corp. experts said in a paper being released today by the congressionally funded United States Institute of Peace.

"But urgent measures - what might be called 'game-changing steps' - are now needed to stem an increasingly violent insurgency," said authors Seth G. Jones and C. Christine Fair.

Obama has been reviewing several options for a troop build up that he and commanders want in Afghanistan. Defense Secretary Robert Gates is to sign troop deployment orders after he gets a nod from Obama.

The new think tank report adds to the growing consensus among officials and private analysts that sending more troops to the now 7-year-old war will mean little without a new strategy.

It faults international donors for not delivering all the aid promised.

It says strategies are splintered and some efforts have been counterproductive because nations working there don't even agree on whether the biggest threat is Al Qaeda, the skyrocketing drug trade, or other issues.

The report says efforts to build a police force have been disappointing, and that work to disarm former combatants and militias is "all but moribund."

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