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Russ Carnahan says U.S. strategy in Afghanistan is working

By Rachel Lippmann

St. Louis – Missouri Congressman Russ Carnahan says new strategies for the war in Afghanistan appear to be working.

The Democrat from south St. Louis traveled to Kabul and Kandahar over the weekend in his role as the chair of the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on oversight. The trip, he said, allowed him to gather information first-hand before scheduled committee hearings on the progress of reconstruction in Afghanistan.

Carnahan said General Stanley McChrystal's efforts to bring in civilian support after the military drives out the Taliban have allowed local governments to stand up.

"A good example in some of the areas we visited down in Kandahar province, where we saw these traditional shuras, or meeting of village leaders," he said. "Those kind of village leaders are finally having input into things they need in their communities in ways they haven't for years." He called the Missouri National Guard agriculture development units have been "golden" for economic development.

More importantly, Carnahan said, stepped-up civilian involvement, combined with ongoing military campaigns by Pakistani, Afghan, and U.S. soldiers have limited the ability of Al-Qaeda and the Taliban to launch attacks from the countries. That's why he doubts that the Pakistani Taliban had any role in the attempted bombing of Times Square on Saturday.

"But I think the important point is that it is important that we stay vigilant to look for whether they be external or internal initiated terrorist activity in our country," he said.

News reports say the Obama administration is becoming increasingly convinced of an international link to the car bomb discovered by a street vendor. But officials say that does not mean ties to Al-Qaeda.


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