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US rethinks Afghanistan strategy

The killing of Osama bin Laden is sure to fuel the debate over the Obama administration's strategy in Afghanistan, where 100,000 troops are still fighting a war to destroy al Qaeda.

world Updated: May 04, 2011 00:06 IST
Agencies
Hindustantimes

The killing of Osama bin Laden is sure to fuel the debate over the Obama administration's strategy in Afghanistan, where 100,000 troops are still fighting a war to destroy al Qaeda. And the raid, conducted without the cooperation or even advance knowledge of Pakistan, raised fresh doubts about the lengthy American effort to turn it into a trustworthy partner in the hunt for terrorists.

As President Obama approaches a critical period in deciding how many troops to pull out of Afghanistan — and how fast — the deadly raid on al Qaeda's leader called into question many of the administration's basic assumptions about how to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a safe haven for Islamic terrorists.

On Monday, administration officials insisted that their commitments to Afghanistan and Pakistan would be undiminished by the death of bin Laden. But they said privately that the pressure would mount on Obama to withdraw troops more quickly. John O. Brennan, Obama's chief counterterrorism adviser, said Pakistan would remain a critical partner in the fight against terrorism, regardless of what he conceded were questions about whether its government provided support to Bin Laden and disagreements about counterterrorism strategy. And he said the large NATO troop presence in Afghanistan was still necessary to prevent that country from again becoming a "launching point" for Al Qaeda.

But officials in the State Department and Pentagon said Bin Laden's death was bound to alter the debate about a costly war soon to enter its second decade.

ht epaper

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