"They reached no consensus, so three or four more such meetings are being scheduled. “There are a lot of competing views,” said one official who, like others in this article, requested anonymity to discuss internal administration deliberations.
Among the alternatives being presented to Mr. Obama is Mr. Biden’s suggestion to revamp the strategy altogether. Instead of increasing troops, officials said, Mr. Biden proposed scaling back the overall American military presence. Rather than trying to protect the Afghan population from the Taliban, American forces would concentrate on strikes against Qaeda cells,primarily in Pakistan, using special forces, Predator missile attacks and other surgical tactics.
The Americans would accelerate training of Afghan forces and provide support as they took the lead against the Taliban. But the emphasis would shift to Pakistan." NY Times.
Biden's reported position is fairly close to what I have been advocating, except that I think that there are people inimical to US interests within Afghanistan whether or not they could be called "Al-Qa'ida." They should continue to be dealt with from several bases within Afghanistan using forces available from a much reduced US contingent as well as "allies" available from a "rent an Afghan" program analogous to the "Sons of Iraq."
Reliance on the use of unmanned bomber aircraft should be cut back a lot. The targeting task seems to be beyond our skill level.
Training of Afghan forces should continue.
I would not oppose the noble idea of a COIN war in Afghanistgan if I did not think it likely to fail from a lack of long term political will. If we go down that road, the American people will quit on the war in a few years. pl