CAPITOL HILL: The US must not go ahead with planned cuts to the Afghan National Army and police, a panel of experts urged the House Armed Services Committee today. Instead, we must keep spending $6 billion a year to support 350,000 Afghan security personnel, go slowly on drawing down our own forces -- and escalate the drone war in Pakistan by striking Taliban sanctuaries previously off-limits.
Most of today's hearing by the HASC subcommittee for oversight and investigations focused on US support for the Afghan National Security Forces, the ANSF. But unremarked by the legislators, two of the three panelists --Savage Wars of Peace author Max Boot and retired Vice Chief of Army Staff Gen. Jack Keane -- called for drone strikes against the suspected Taliban leadership base in Quetta. That's the capital of Balochistan, a province of Pakistan proper, whereas the drone strikes to date have been confined to the Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (FATA), a largely lawless region where the Pakistani government and its British predecessors themselves have always relied more on punitive strikes than permanent control. (In US terms, the difference is a bit like that between the 50 states and Guam -- if Guam were ruled by traditional Guamian tribal law administered by AK-47-wielding elders). http://defense.aol.com/2012/06/29/pay-afghanistan-and-strike-pakistan-experts-tell-house/