Biden Plan Would Target al-Qaeda, not Taliban

No consensus has emerged in White House war room
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 23, 2009 7:27 AM CDT
Biden Plan Would Target al-Qaeda, not Taliban
Joe Biden wants to focus on counterterrorism rather than counterinsurgency tactics.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

The Obama administration’s national security heavyweights have yet to reach any kind of consensus on a strategy for Afghanistan, the New York Times reports. Obama is considering both increasing troop levels to carry out his original counterinsurgency strategy, and an alternative plan from Joe Biden that would pull troops out and focus purely on surgical strikes against terrorists, primarily in Pakistan. “There are a lot of competing views,” said one official.

Biden’s plan upends the administration’s assumption that keeping the Taliban out of power is essential to fighting al-Qaeda. Hillary Clinton apparently disagrees; in a recent interview she said, “If Afghanistan were taken over by the Taliban, I can’t tell you how fast al-Qaeda would be back.” But Obama is considering all options. After the fraudulent Afghan election, Pentagon officials think Obama has “buyer’s remorse” over the 21,000 extra troops he sent in earlier this year (More Afghanistan election stories.)

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