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Afghanistan conflict rapidly worsening: US report

The US administration has launched an urgent review of policy in Afghanistan as intelligence officials warn of a "downward spiral" in efforts to stabilize the country, US newspapers reported Thursday.

Officials familiar with a draft National Intelligence Estimate (NIE NIE Newspapers in Education
NIE National Intelligence Estimate (US government)
NIE Newspaper In Education
NIE National Institute of Education (various countries) 
) on Afghanistan, said it casts doubt on the ability of the Kabul government to stem the resurgence of Taliban, The New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of
 Times said.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told reporters that she had not seen the NIE but said "we have asked for the intelligence community to take a look, it's important that it do so.

"I would just cite that Afghanistan is a difficult place. It has made progress since 2001. We have all talked about new circumstances that have arisen there, and we are doing a review to see what more we can do," she added.

The NIE report combining analyses of 16 US intelligence agencies is due for completion after the US presidential election in November.

"The classified report finds that the breakdown in central authority in Afghanistan has been accelerated by rampant corruption within the government of President Hamid Karzai Hamid Karzai (Persian and Pashto: حامد کرزي) (b. December 24, 1957) is the current President of Afghanistan, since December 7, 2004. He became the dominant political figure after the removal of the Taliban regime.  and by an increase in violence by militants who have launched increasingly sophisticated attacks from havens in Pakistan," the Times said.

The report says heroin trade "by some estimates" accounts for 50 percent of Afghanistan's economy, the Times said.

According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.

2. In keeping with: according to instructions.

 The Washington Post, "analysts have concluded that reconstituted elements of Al-Qaeda and the resurgent re·sur·gent  
1. Experiencing or tending to bring about renewal or revival.

2. Sweeping or surging back again.

Adj. 1.
 Taliban are collaborating with an expanding network of militant groups, making the counterinsurgency coun·ter·in·sur·gen·cy  
Political and military strategy or action intended to oppose and forcefully suppress insurgency.

 war infinitely more complicated."

"As the US presidential election approaches, senior officials have expressed worry that the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan is so tenuous that it may fall apart while a new set of US policymakers settles in," the Post said.

Spurred by the report, the White House has launched a review of Afghanistan policy "fast-tracked for completion in the next several weeks," the Post said.

It said President George W. Bush's senior advisor In some countries, a Senior Advisor is an appointed position by the Head of State to advise on the highest levels of national and government policy. Sometimes a junior position to this is called a National Policy Advisor.  for Iraq and Afghanistan, Lieutenant General Douglas Lute Douglas E. Lute is a lieutenant general in the United States Army. On 15 May 2007, Lute was nominated by George W. Bush to serve as Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for Iraq and Afghanistan, also known as the "War Czar", in the George W. , had instructed Pentagon and State Department officials to "return to the basic questions" such as "what are our objectives" and "what can we hope to achieve" in Afghanistan.

Lute is heading to Afghanistan with a team of specialists to assess the situation there, according to The New York Times.

The National Intelligence Estimate describes a Pakistan-based extremist network with three elements: Pakistani extremists allied with Kashmiri militants; Afghan Taliban; and traditional tribal groups in western Pakistan that assist the other groups, the Post said.

"Al-Qaeda, composed largely of Arabs, and increasingly, Uzbeks, Chechens and other Central Asians, is described as sitting atop the structure, providing money and training to the others in exchange for sanctuary," the Post said.

A US counterterrorism coun·ter·ter·ror  
Intended to prevent or counteract terrorism: counterterror measures; counterterror weapons.

Action or strategy intended to counteract or suppress terrorism.
 official told the daily there is competition between the groups but their interests increasingly overlap and "they understand the need to support one another."
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Publication:AFP Asian Edition
Date:Oct 9, 2008
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