March 27, 2009
President Barack Obama will Friday announce a new strategy to “disrupt, dismantle and defeat” Al-Qaeda in safe havens in Afghanistan and Pakistan and deploy an extra 4,000 military trainers.
The new strategy, the product of a 60-day review in conjunction with US allies, marks one of the boldest foreign policy bets laid so far in Obama’s two months in power and defies those who warn he is walking into a quagmire.
The 4,000 US troops will build up the Afghan army and are in addition to 17,000 extra troops already promised by the president.
Obama will also send hundreds more civilian and development workers into Afghanistan, three administration officials said on the eve of his announcement.
“It is a clear, concise, attainable goal, and that goal is to disrupt, dismantle and defeat Al-Qaeda in its safe havens in Afghanistan and Pakistan,” one of the officials said on condition of anonymity.
The strategy will also establish clear benchmarks to judge the performance of the United States and its allies in both Pakistan and Afghanistan, to enable mid-course corrections, another official said.
The officials accused the Bush administration of leaving US policy “adrift” in the two nations.
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