Spec Ops, CIA to maintain large presence in Afghanistan

The Rack: Thomas F. Lynch III, "The 80 Percent Solution: The Strategic Defeat of bin Laden’s al-Qaeda and Implications for South Asian Security" (NAF). Strategy shifts U.S. Special Operations commander Adm. Bill McRaven said Tuesday he has "no doubt that special operations will be the last to leave Afghanistan," as White House officials said the ...

MASSOUD HOSSAINI/AFP/Getty Images
MASSOUD HOSSAINI/AFP/Getty Images
MASSOUD HOSSAINI/AFP/Getty Images

The Rack: Thomas F. Lynch III, "The 80 Percent Solution: The Strategic Defeat of bin Laden's al-Qaeda and Implications for South Asian Security" (NAF).

Strategy shifts

U.S. Special Operations commander Adm. Bill McRaven said Tuesday he has "no doubt that special operations will be the last to leave Afghanistan," as White House officials said the Obama administration is considering handing over control of the mission in Afghanistan entirely to special forces as conventional troops withdraw (APCNN). This strategy, in combination with the U.S. plan to maintain large numbers of clandestine CIA operatives in the country, would allow the United States to protect U.S. interests in Afghanistan while reducing its "footprint" (Post). 

The Rack: Thomas F. Lynch III, "The 80 Percent Solution: The Strategic Defeat of bin Laden’s al-Qaeda and Implications for South Asian Security" (NAF).

Strategy shifts

U.S. Special Operations commander Adm. Bill McRaven said Tuesday he has "no doubt that special operations will be the last to leave Afghanistan," as White House officials said the Obama administration is considering handing over control of the mission in Afghanistan entirely to special forces as conventional troops withdraw (APCNN). This strategy, in combination with the U.S. plan to maintain large numbers of clandestine CIA operatives in the country, would allow the United States to protect U.S. interests in Afghanistan while reducing its "footprint" (Post). 

The Obama administration is reportedly trying to speed up the peace talk process with the Taliban so that U.S. officials will be able to announce substantial progress at a NATO summit in May (Reuters). And Pakistani officials are satisfied that the United States has kept them involved by briefing Pakistani Ambassador Sherry Rehman on the details and current status of the tentative talks (ET). The Post’s Pamela Constable has a must-read on Amb. Rehman’s poor chances of relieving tension between the United States and Pakistan, due in part to the intensity of anti-American sentiment in Pakistan as well as the widespread distrust of the administration that appointed Rehman (Post).

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) said Tuesday that as the flow of development aid into Afghanistan slows with the winding down of the war, the risk of more children entering the work force will increase (Reuters). There are already at least two million Afghan children in full or part-time work. Meanwhile, Afghan officials questioned this weekend’s New York Times article on the number of young children freezing to death in Kabul’s refugee camps, saying the residents of these camps may have been exaggerating in order to obtain aid money (NYT).

Fighting back

Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani filed an appeal on Wednesday against contempt of court charges brought against him last week, and the Supreme Court has formed a separate, eight-member bench to hear the appeal on Thursday (ETBBCAJE,AFPThe NewsCNN).

A U.S. drone attack killed 10 suspected Haqqani Network militants in the village of Tappi in North Waziristan on Wednesday (TelDawnAPAJEReutersCNNETBBC) The strike came as Pakistan Army’s Director General of Military Operations Maj. Gen. Ashfaq Nadeem met with NATO and Afghan military officials in the border town of Torkham to discuss improvements in coordination between the three forces (APDawnReuters). 

Two Pakistani security forces were killed on Wednesday in Mohmand Agency by what appeared to be an improvised explosive device (IED) (ET). On Tuesday, over 100 people were detained in Peshawar during police raids on 10 unregistered madrassas due to "suspicious activity" at some of the schools (ET). The death toll from Monday’s factory collapse in Lahore reached 21 on Wednesday, as a man was rescued after surviving 48 hours trapped beneath rubble (APAFPTel). And a bomb destroyed up to 20 stores in Quetta’s Liaquat Bazaar late Tuesday night, though fortunately the extremely cold temperatures in Quetta assured that no patrons or shop owners were around (ET).

Khyber Club

The Post’s Karen Brulliard reports on the state of an almost two-decade-old club in Peshawar that has served visiting Western officials, aid workers, journalists and spies from the height of the Afghan civil war in the 80s until today (Post). However, the rise of Pakistani militants and the dismal state of U.S.-Pakistan relations have more recently left the once-bustling bar almost empty.

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Jennifer Rowland is a research associate in the National Security Studies Program at the New America Foundation.

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