The commander of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, submitted today his long awaited strategic plan intended to turn around a war that is fast deteriorating, according to an International Security Forces Afghanistan (ISAF) press release. It is widely believed McChrystal will ask for substantially more troops, although the announcement does not give specific details of the new strategy.
"The situation in Afghanistan is serious, but success is achievable and demands a revised implementation strategy, commitment and resolve, and increased unity of effort,” said McChrystal, in the release. The new strategy was delivered to Central Command chief Gen. David Petraeus, who will then forward it up the chain of command to Defense Secretary Robert Gates and President Obama.
The shift in strategy comes after Afghan presidential elections left no clear winner and will almost certainly deliver a tainted outcome amid widespread claims of voter fraud. In recent months, insurgent influence is spreading to what had been relatively peaceful parts of the country, including the north and far west. U.S. and NATO troop casualties are reaching the highest monthly levels ever.
The Marines launched a major offensive in southern Helmand province earlier this summer that now appears to have had little immediate effect beyond pushing insurgents into neighboring Kandahar province and Kandahar city. Attacks in Kandahar city have steadily increased in recent weeks and the U.S. and NATO are now trying to free up forces from other parts of the country to rush to the area.
There are now more than 100,000 U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan; U.S. troop numbers are around 62,000 and climbing.
We'll keep you updated as more information on the new Afghanistan strategy is released.