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McChrystal Considers Abandoning Remote U.S. Troop Outposts

If it’s a population-protection mission you’re after in Afghanistan, then placing U.S. troops far from the population doesn’t make much sense. And counterterrorism efforts don’t seem to be particularly sensible in these cases either. McClatchy:

“These (outposts) are costly and dangerous and not doing much to bring security to the people or connect the people to their government,” said a U.S. official who’s familiar with the region. “The terrain is too rugged, the infrastructure and especially roads do not exist and couldn’t be built on short order, and the population is too low and too dispersed.”

American commanders had hoped that sending more troops to the border area, coupled with a new Pakistani drive against the militants on its side of the border, could deprive al Qaida and the Taliban of a sanctuary and end infiltration from Pakistan.

However, two senior U.S. officials said, there’s no sign that the Pakistani military is prepared to move against the militants, and as one of them put it: “There’s no point swinging a hammer if there’s no anvil there.”

Perhaps that should be a signal to reemphasize to the Pakistanis the need to, you know, do such a thing. Or do they consider the death of Beitullah Mehsud to mean the end of the Pakistani Taliban?

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