White House exploring agreement on new Afghan strategy at NATO summit next May

Afghan policemen and US soldiers in Kandahar, October 31, 2011

From the Wall Street Journal:  The Obama administration is exploring a shift in the military’s mission in Afghanistan to an advisory role as soon as next year, senior officials told The Wall Street Journal, a move that would scale back U.S. combat duties well ahead of their scheduled conclusion at the end of 2014.

Such a move would have broad implications for the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan. It could begin a phase-out of the current troop-intensive approach, which focuses on protecting the Afghan population, in favor of a greater focus on targeted counterterrorism operations, as well as training the Afghan military.

A transition to a training mission could also allow for a faster drawdown of U.S. forces in the country, though officials said discussions about troop levels have yet to move forward. . . .
Officials said agreement on a formal shift to an advisory role could come as early as a North Atlantic Treaty Organization meeting in May—in the heat of the U.S. presidential election campaign.  (photo: Getty)

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