Calls Increase for New Afghanistan Strategy

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The Taliban's long shadow across Afghanistan continues to wreak havoc for citizens and foreign soldiers trying desperately to gain the upper hand.

A bombing Wednesday killed at least 23, including the deputy spy chief of Afghanistan, Abdullah Laghmani. It was the second high-profiling bombing in less than a month.

Eight years into the war, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan said America and its allies need a new strategy to win the battle against what he calls a serious situation.

"Clearly the insurgency is serious right now," Gen. Stanley McChrystal said. "It has spread geographically. It has spread in intensity in certain areas, and its ability to coerce or control parts of the population has increased."

Click play for more analysis with CBN News Military Reporter Chuck Holton.

Earlier this year, President Obama ordered 21,000 additional troops to the region, and most experts believe a larger deployment is coming.

"We need more resources in Afghanistan," Obama said. "America must no longer deny resources to Afghanistan. This is not a war of choice. This is a war of necessity."

But the majority of Americans are not buying that argument. Polls show support for the war is dropping and most are against sending more troops.

In fact, this week a leading conservative commentator called for U.S. troops to pull out of Afghanistan. 

"There is a risk, but there's a clear risk in doubling down in Afghanistan," columnist George F. Will wrote in a Washington Post article titled, Time to Get Out of Afghanistan. "If we're looking for a risk-free option, we are going to be disappointed."

The White House has shot down any talk of pullout, but the August casualty figures were another reminder of what is at stake. Last month was the worst on record for U.S. fatalities in Afghanistan.

Still, others are calling on the Obama Administration to not back down, but instead layout a clear plan for victory. 

"I believe the American people, if they had explained to them what's at stake in Afghanistan, I believe they will support their president if he leads them toward taking these actions that are absolutely necessary for their security," said John Nagl of the Center For a New American Security.

Meanwhile, there is some good news to report as Afghan poppy production is down.

"This is altogether positive, a significant decline in the cultivation," said Antonio Maria Costa of the U.N.'s Office on Drugs and Crime.

Opium farming is down some 22 percent this year as prices for the drug has dropped.

"The situation of drugs in Afghanistan is under control," said Afghanistan's counter-narcotics minister Gen. Khodaidad Khodaidad. "In the coming years I assure you that we are very hopeful of having more provinces reaching zero in opium cultivation."

Afghanistan has a lucrative drug trade. For years, it has produced 90 percent of the world's opium. And the money from the drug trade has helped fund the Taliban.

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George Thomas

George Thomas

CBN News Sr. Reporter

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