Obama's new 'AFPAK' mission
Will the new US president's new strategy help stabilise the region?
Last Modified: 12 May 2009 08:36 GMT

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In order to tackle the foreign policy challenges he inherited from George Bush US president Barack Obama has announced a new strategy.

He intends to re-deploy 17,000 troops from Iraq to Afghanistan, in an attempt to replicate the success of the surge in troop numbers in Iraq.

The stated goal is to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The US hopes to encourage Afghans to take a more active role in the military and policing of the country, whilst simultaneously sending more civilian aid and "soft power", similar policies to those used in Iraq. 

Empire examines the motives behind this policy and its chances of success. The task ahead is not easy.

Warlords and Taliban leaders control most of the country outside of Kabul and the whole mission will cost tens of billions of dollars that the US can no longer afford.

In the meantime, the battle for Afghan hearts and minds is being lost, every time a civilian dies in a US strike.

This problem is also spilling over into America's most unstable ally, Pakistan. With non-existent borders, government no-go areas, and a large percentage of the population that disapproves of US policy.

Marwan Bishara and guests ask if the United States has learnt lessons from its operations in Iraq.

Al Jazeera
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