US Afghan strategy not working

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  1. US Afghan strategy 'not working'
    By Mark Mardell
    BBC News North America Editor

    The general's report will not carry recommendations on troop numbers
    A report by the US's top general in Afghanistan is expected to admit the current strategy is not working.
    General Stanley McChrystal's report is also expected to say that protecting the Afghan people against the Taliban must be the US's top priority.
    But the report will not contain any recommendations on troop numbers.
    It comes days after the elections in Afghanistan. Partial results give President Hamid Karzai a lead over rival Abdullah Abdullah.
    Crisis of confidence
    The BBC understands General McChrystal's report will say that the Afghan people are undergoing a crisis of confidence because the war against the Taliban has not made their lives better.
    General McChrystal says the aim should be for Afghan forces to take the lead but their army will not be ready to do that for three years and it will take a lot longer for the police.
    He will warn that villages have to be taken and held, not merely taken.
    General McChrystal also wants more engagement with the Taliban fighters and he believes that 60% of the problem would go away if they could be found jobs.
    This report does not mention increasing troop numbers - that is for another report later in the year - but the hints are all there.
    When General McChrystal's report lands on the President Obama's desk he will have to ponder the implications of increasing commitment to a conflict which opinion polls suggest is losing some popular support among the American people.