No purely military solution for Afghan: Robert Gates

January 28th, 2009 - 1:06 am ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaWashington, Jan 27 (Xinhua) US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said Tuesday there was “no purely military solution” for the Afghan war, which he described as Washington’s “greatest military challenge”.He made the remarks while briefing senators on war plans for Afghanistan and Iraq on the Capitol Hill.

While saying that Afghanistan was not solely a military issue, Gates noted that more troops were needed “to provide a baseline level of security in some of the most dangerous areas”.

The Pentagon was considering adding troops to Afghanistan in conjunction with “a dramatic increase in the size of the Afghan security forces,” he added.

Gates was shedding some lights on how President Barack Obama had planed to implement his campaign pledge to increase the US focus on Afghanistan, where US and NATO troops are battling a resurgent Taliban foe.

The Obama administration is conducting a full review of its Afghan strategy, drawing on assessments by the military and former President George W. Bush’s advisers.

US military planners are working on a plan that could send 30,000 more US troops to Afghanistan this year.

The exact number remains to be determined, as well as when they will arrive and what their specific missions will be.

Also to be defined is how to fulfill a pledge to increase diplomatic and economic resources.

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