UN To Obama: Don't Change Afghan Strategy

The top U.N. official in Afghanistan said U.S. President-elect Barack Obama should resist calls to change strategy in Afghanistan, urging him instead to focus on implementing the one already being pursued.

Kai Eide said that the incoming U.S. administration "has a unique opportunity to gather strength, gather energy .... and build on the trends we have seen" toward building the Afghan security forces and propping up the country's economy.

"My appeal is not grand strategy discussion, my appeal is concrete implementation effort," Eide told The Associated Press in an interview Thursday inside the U.N. compound in Kabul.

Obama has pledged to withdraw American troops from Iraq and deploy more to Afghanistan, where Taliban and al-Qaida linked militants have made a comeback in recent years.

U.S. Vice President-elect Joe Biden, who toured the region this week, said that "things are going to get tougher in Afghanistan before they're going to get better."

Insurgent attacks in Afghanistan increased in 2008 over the previous year and some 6,400 people — mostly militants — died last year as a result of the insurgency.

The deteriorating situation in Afghanistan has forced the U.S. to plan to rush as many as 30,000 more troops to the central Asian country this year.

They will be joining some 32,000 U.S. troops already there who serve alongside 32,000 other NATO-led and coalition troops — the highest number since the U.S.-led invasion that ousted the Taliban from power in 2001.

Obama has said Afghanistan is one of his top priorities, but his incoming team have not yet disclosed a concrete plan.

Eide, the Norwegian diplomat who has been heading the U.N. mission in Afghanistan for the last nine months, warned against any major change in direction.

"Our problem is not that we need a new strategy. ... What happens very often is that we agree on something, we do not implement it and we say something must therefore be wrong with the strategy," Eide said. "That is not the case. The problem is in the implementation."

Eide said that there have been major improvements in two important sectors — building of local security forces and the economy.

"Every month we are getting better at handling the security situation," he said. "There is a greater momentum in building the key parts of the economy."

Staying the course and implementing the priorities set up at an international conference over six months ago must remain the goal, Eide said.

Meanwhile, the U.S. military said one of its Black Hawk helicopters crashed near Kabul Friday, but there were no deaths reported and no enemy activity was involved. All seven people on the helicopter survived and are "safe and secure," the military said in a statement.

The helicopter was on its way to perform a medical evacuation. The statement does not say what caused the accident.

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  • by Tad Location: Jamesville on Jan 16, 2009 at 11:30 PM
    Blog Refluter, as usual you don't make any sense. The responsiblity for strategy in Afghanistan was Bush's, just as it will belong to the "one" starting on Tuesday. Hence, the UN urging obuma not to change the strategy. For what it is worth, the "one", "messiah", "the chosen one", "Chicago street hustler", are all names that apply to the "one who makes liberal men tinglely and week kneed". In other words, obuma.
  • by Review Location: NC on Jan 16, 2009 at 05:38 PM
    People please review your post, some do not make any sense.
  • by Buzz Location: Mbx on Jan 16, 2009 at 04:44 PM
    No I dont you libs got hood-winked. I think the that the Conservative Columnists that attended got programmed. We'll see. Buzz-
  • by Heather Location: NC on Jan 16, 2009 at 02:31 PM
    Obama Dines with Conservative Columnists at George Will's House Is this unprecedented? Will Rush show up too? Quote: Guests at Will’s dinner party reportedly included William Kristol, a founder and editor of The Weekly Standard and a leader of the neoconservative movement that was so influential in the Bush administration. I do not know Dem. Liberals. You might have got hood winked.
  • by Blog Refuter Location: NC on Jan 16, 2009 at 11:12 AM
    It does not necessarily mean that Bush was correct, but perhaps some of his advisers were. There is no way that Bush would be perfectly knowledgeable of all these different areas of expertise. For what it's worth, making that assumption is like unto calling him a god or "the chosen one".
  • by WOLFGANG Location: CHOCOWINITY,NC on Jan 16, 2009 at 10:27 AM
    Obama starts to tell the truth? " I want to be realistic here. Not everything that we talked about during the campaign are we going to be able to do on the pace that we had hoped. Even he admits now his campaign promises were just a bunch of smoke and mirrors. Elections are not about winning arguments. It's not about telling the right things to people. It's about telling them ' The People " what they want to hear." Like the redustrubtion check ect? O it is in the mail next month? Do some people still think he can walk on water?
  • by LIsa Location: NC on Jan 16, 2009 at 07:30 AM
    Has America got over it's fever? Pretty sure the America isn't sick anymore. Pelosi saving the American people.
  • by Tad Location: Jamesville on Jan 16, 2009 at 07:02 AM
    What? The UN saying Bush was right about something. In time the UN and others will see that he was right about alot of the things that he was criticized for.
  • by WOLFGANG Location: CHOCOWINITY,NC on Jan 16, 2009 at 06:35 AM
    I hope the Community Organizer can handle World problems. This is not about building a new YMCA. Just send Hillary , Slick Willie's wife she will fix it all. Dave Letterman will have a great 4 years of good endless O & Hil jokes. Can't want for Dave next month.
  • by ACE on Jan 16, 2009 at 06:33 AM
    Kimo, Yes we are alone, thanks to the "UN-CHOSEN ONE GWB" "THANK GOD AND GREYHOUND HE"S GONE"
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