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US Military Orders Review of Coalition Strategy in Afghanistan


The U.S. military is making an assessment of coalition strategy in Afghanistan in an effort to ensure that a recent increase in violence does not threaten long-term progress.

The effort, first reported in Sunday's New York Times newspaper, was confirmed to VOA by a U.S. military official.

The assessment is being handled by Admiral William Fallon, commander of U.S. Central Command, which oversees U.S. military activity in the Middle East and East Africa, as well as Afghanistan.

The official who spoke to VOA Sunday on condition of anonymity said Central Command is constantly assessing strategy and progress in Afghanistan and elsewhere, but that this effort by the admiral goes beyond the usual process.

The New York Times reports that Admiral Fallon's assessment is one of three that will feed into a broader Afghanistan policy review early next year.

The Times says the others are being done by the State Department and the NATO alliance.

On Friday, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates got approval for the development of a long term plan for achieving stability in the country during a meeting of key NATO members with troops in Afghanistan.

NATO has a total of 40,000 troops in Afghanistan, including 14,000 Americans. In addition, the United States has another 12,000 troops in the country conducting counter-terrorism operations outside the NATO structure.

In other news, Afghanistan's Defense Ministry says its troops have killed four Taliban members near Musa Qala, in the first fighting since the militants were ousted from the southern town.