United States taking unabashed ownership of Afghan war

March 26th, 2009 - 1:53 pm ICT by ANI  

Barack Obama Washington, Mar 26 (ANI): President Barack Obama’s decision to deploy an additional 17,000 troops in Afghanistan is part of a strategy to shift the centre of gravity in favour of the Americans.

The United States is taking unabashed ownership of the Afghan war after years cooperation with NATO and resentment over unequal burden sharing, the Washington Post reports.

Obama’s decision to deploy an additional 17,000 troops to Afghanistan this year will bring the number of foreign troops there to nearly 90,000, more than two-thirds of them Americans.

Although many will technically report to NATO commanders, the US force will increasingly be in charge.

Even as the US military expands its control over the battlefield, the number of American civilian officials will also grow by at least 50 percent — to more than 900 — under the new Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy Obama will announce, according to US officials.

In Afghanistan, the Obama Administration “will continue to characterize the effort as multinational. There will continue to be thousands of troops and people” from NATO and elsewhere, said a former senior Defense Department official. “But the center of gravity is going to shift toward the Americans.”

Obama’s national security team has taken pains to consult with allies as it has put the new strategy together. The Washington announcement, and the presentation Obama will make at an April 3-4 NATO summit in Europe, will emphasize shared threats and common purpose, The Post quoted officials, as saying.

But the increasing US dominance is both by default and by design. The United States has far more troops, equipment and money — and more willingness to use them — than the rest of NATO.

Even before Obama took office, his holdover Defense Secretary, Robert M. Gates, had largely given up pressing the allies for more combat forces, with fewer restrictions on their activities.

Although European governments have been asked to send up to four additional battalions of 800 to 1,000 troops each to boost security for Afghan elections in August, they will be temporary additions. (ANI)

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