It has been about six months since the Obama Administration unveiled a
new strategy boosting efforts to rebuild Afghan civil society. That is
part of a comprehensive strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan. A top
State Department official is acknowledging the need to show real
senior U.S. official acknowledges the clock is ticking on showing the
effectiveness of America's multibillion dollar attempt to rebuild
Afghanistan. The effort has been deemed a foreign policy priority of
the Obama administration.
The Deputy Secretary of State for
Management and Resources, Jack Lew, on a visit to India, spoke with a
small group of Indian and American reporters in the capital. He told
them it is critical to continue the effort to transfer skills and tools
to Afghans so foreigners do not need to have a permanent presence
"It is a challenge after just a few months of
implementation to be able to speak with confidence about when these
things will occur," said Lew. "But the president has been clear, the
Administration has been clear that there's a need for demonstrable
progress on a short order."
The deputy secretary, who is the
State Department's chief operating officer, adds that Congress and the
administration itself will hold those responsible accountable to show a
difference is being made in Afghanistan.
include training the Afghan National Army and police, as well as
building capacity in Afghan government ministries. President Obama, in
late March, outlined a comprehensive plan to defeat the Taliban and
al-Qaida in order to bring security to Afghanistan and to construct a
Lew says these efforts "address a direct
threat to the United States." The deputy secretary is to visit
Afghanistan next week. His trip comes at a critical time with the
results of the country's presidential election still uncertain and
worries a disputed outcome, due to allegations of widespread ballot box
stuffing, could spark further civil violence.
The White House
is now reviewing strategic recommendations made by the top U.S.
military officer in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal. Details
are confidential but they are believed to include the possibility of
adding more troops to the already 60 thousand Americans in uniform
deployed there in the eight-year old war.
This comes at a time
when opinion polls show dropping support among Americans for the
military effort in Afghanistan, where Afghan, American and NATO
coalition forces together are fighting the Taliban.