What Afghanistan lawmakers want General Petraeus to do
General Petraeus takes over a counterinsurgency strategy that has largely failed, say Afghanistan lawmakers from Taliban hot spots Marjah and Kandahar, which have been targeted for key US offensives.
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Can Petraeus address Afghan concerns?
But neither Zai nor Sabir wants a change in strategy, per se. Instead, they argue that the US, by locking itself into its relationship with the increasingly autocratic Karzai, is losing the local support that is key to its counterinsurgency strategy.Skip to next paragraph
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Whether Petraeus, who is expected to keep McChrystal's strategy – albeit with a likely change in approach – can do much about any of this is uncertain. Despite concerns over fraud in last year’s presidential election, Karzai is the leader of the country and has broad powers to appoint local leaders. And going after local warlords who have become entrenched since the war started in 2001 could have dangerous repercussions for US forces – potentially adding to their enemies here.
But one thing is clear: he doesn’t have much time to get things working. While Kabul remains relatively safe, much of the country is aflame, with the Taliban conducting targeted assassinations and planting roadside bombs, and increasingly powerful local warlords vying with each other to extract cash from farmers and businessmen.
Record death toll in June
Marjah, in Helmand Province, isn’t the only area where violence is rising. In the province just north of Kandahar today, 11 bodies were found in a field. Local police say they were killed by the Taliban, who considered them informers.
Two NATO soldiers were also announced killed on Friday, taking the death toll of foreign forces to 81 for June – already a record in the nearly nine-year war. And attacks, particularly roadside bombs or IEDs, have continued to increase. There were 3,496 IED incidents in the first four months of the year, on pace to eclipse last year’s record total of 8,159.
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