Obama needs Afghan war progress soon

Aug. 30, 2009 at 4:00 PM

WASHINGTON, Aug. 30 (UPI) -- The Obama administration must quickly convince a skeptical U.S. public it has a feasible plan to reverse flagging fortunes in Afghanistan, analysts say.

If the White House is to win enough popular backing to keep the fight against Taliban insurgents alive, it must do so by the end of next year, analysts told Sunday's Los Angeles Times.

"Over the next 12 to 15 months, among the things you absolutely, positively have to do is persuade a skeptical American public that this can work, that you have a plan and a strategy that is feasible," Stephen Biddle, a military expert who advises the U.S.-led command in Afghanistan, told the newspaper.

"We need a fundamental new approach," added an unnamed senior adviser to Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the newly appointed top commander in Afghanistan.

The Times said U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates' stated view that progress in the 8-year-old war must be apparent in key areas by next year to maintain its support is shared by every other major Obama administration player, from the White House to the State Department and elsewhere.

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