"The NSC's strategic guidance, a classified document that outlines the president's new approach, was described by the senior administration official as limiting military operations "in scale and scope to the minimum required to achieve two goals — to prevent al-Qaeda safe havens and to prevent the Taliban from toppling the government." The use of resource-intensive counterinsurgency tactics — employing U.S. forces to protect Afghan civilians from the Taliban — is supposed to be restricted to key cities and towns in southern and eastern parts of the country, the official said.
"The strategy has fundamentally changed. This is not a COIN strategy," Vice President Biden said on MSNBC last week, using the military's shorthand for counterinsurgency. "This is not 'go out and occupy the whole country.' " " Washpost
It appears that the Afghan policy war is not over. Chandrasekaran is a good reporter but not good enough to get this unaided. Sooo, someone(s) at the NSC briefed him so that the message would be delivered to the "other team" that their behavior is being watched closely and that the NSC team is prepared to use the public media as a weapon if need be.
The reporter then went to the Defense Department where he was told their side of the story. Secretary Gates appears to have become the leader of the pentagon faction
Petraeus is interestingly absent from this nearly open struggle. He will wait to see what the outcome may be.
A major confrontation over policy and presidential authority is coming. The policy review scheduled for July 2010 may well precipitate it. pl