City-Focused Afghan Plan Winning Support

Emerging strategy fuses McChrystal, Biden competing plans
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 28, 2009 6:36 AM CDT
The shadow of a US Army Black Hawk helicopter falls over a base during a mission over Helmand Province, Afghanistan, last week.   (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)
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(Newser) – A plan one official describes as "McChrystal for the city, Biden for the country," is emerging as the administration continues to hammer out its Afghan strategy. The plan would concentrate US forces in population centers, while maintaining pressure on insurgents elsewhere with drone strikes and targeted attacks from special forces. The debate is no longer about whether to send more troops, but about how many to send, officials tell the New York Times.

The strategy, administration and military officials say, will prevent the return of al-Qaeda and sap the Taliban's strength while Afghan forces are trained to take over the mission. "We are not talking about surrendering the rest of the country to the Taliban,” stressed one senior official, although others argue that as a mostly indigenous insurgency largely motivated by local grievances, the Taliban will be impossible to wholly uproot.