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Reuters writes that members of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, during a hearing with White House officials, expressed their fears that the US strategy in Afghanistan was failing. Democrats focused in particular on Afghanistan's relationship with the war in Iraq.
"The question here, in my view, is whether or not we've neglected Pakistan and Afghanistan because of our overemphasis on Iraq," said Sen. Russ Feingold, a Wisconsin Democrat.
That point was raised by the Atlantic Council in a report on Wednesday that called Afghanistan a "dangerously neglected conflict" that needed more U.S. and NATO troops.
"If we should be surging forces anywhere, it's in Afghanistan, not Iraq," said Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joseph Biden, a Delaware Democrat.
Reuters adds that Republicans were no less critical of the Bush administration.
Sen. Chuck Hagel, a Nebraska Republican, said he saw an "astounding number of contradictions about how much progress we're making" in the administration's presentation.
"If we are making so much progress, then why are we putting in 3,200 more Marines? Why are we to a breaking point in NATO on this issue?" he asked.
The committee hearing comes just a day after the release of two independent reports on the Afghanistan conflict, one by the Atlantic Council of the United States and the other by the Afghanistan Study Group. CQPolitics writes that, "Taken together, the reports painted a grim portrait of Afghanistan as a failing state six years after the U.S. invasion that toppled the Taliban government and urgently called for a new NATO strategy before the expected Taliban offensive."
"Make no mistake, NATO is not winning in Afghanistan," the report by the Atlantic Council said. "Unless this reality is understood and action is taken promptly, the future of Afghanistan is bleak, with regional and global impact."