Sending More Troops to Afghanistan Won't Beat Taliban, Say US Experts

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Byline: Robert Fox Defence Corrrespondent

AS Britain and the US prepare to unveil a new strategy for Afghanistan, two eminent analysts have warned that a boosting of military numbers would play into the hands of al Qaeda and Taliban extremists.

In an article to be published this month, Steven Simon, a former adviser to the Clinton administration, and Professor Jonathan Stevenson of the US Naval War College, argue America and its allies should scale back ambitions for Afghanistan and Pakistan. Instead of state-building and counterinsurgency in Afghanistan, the allies should concentrate on suppressing al Qaeda and the attempts by extremists to destabilise Pakistan.

"Counter-insurgency in Afghanistan would probably fail," they warn in the article to be published in Survival, the journal of the International Institute for Strategic Studies. They say such an operation would need a reliable national government.

But the authors believe president Hamid Karzai has decreasing support from Afghans, particularly after the allegations of fraud and corruption surrounding the 20 August elections. …