Reporter's Note: Tune in to hear more on this story from Peter Bergen tonight on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.
Barbara Starr | BIO
A few points from a US military official with specific direct knowledge of the Afghanistan deployment and what the US military is planning there.
1. the increased troop levels expected to last at minimum three to four years.
2. Obama authorized 17K, 12K will get orders soon, another 5K of support troops will get their orders at a later date.
3. The additional troops will ALL go to Afghanistan’s southern border region with Pakistan. The aim is primarily (but not solely) to begin to stop the flow of foreign fighters across that border.
4. The US troops will be dual purpose: combat and also training afghan army units. But at least another 2,000 US troops needed specifically for the training mission.
5. The concept of operations by the US military: build a new string of forward operating bases (main base areas) and combat outposts (smaller posts in towns and villages like you saw in Iraq)…troops will move around…engaging in both counter terrorism (fighting foreign fighters essentially) and counter insurgency (fighting basic taliban and insurgents inside the country….including the so-called ‘day hires’ that join the Taliban just for money.
6: goal: to have enough troops to ‘seize and hold’ territory…and maintain basic security in an ever broadening area –there simply haven’t been enough troops to hold ground.
7. Taliban continue (as we have said since nov) to maintain at least half a dozen safe haven areas inside Afghanistan. these are prime target areas for US.
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