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Clinton travels to Afghanistan as war fears rise

The war and the reconstruction effort are not proceeding as hoped: U.S. representative

Clinton travels to Afghanistan as war fears rise

Amid growing worries about the war in Afghanistan, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was traveling to South Asia yesterday on a mission aimed at refining the goals of the nearly 9-year-old conflict.
Clinton's visit comes as American lawmakers are increasingly questioning the course of the war, with a rising death toll of U.S. and international forces, and expressing greater misgivings about corruption and the utility of massive assistance to both Afghanistan and Pakistan.
She will attend next week's international conference in Kabul, where the Afghan government is expected to outline plans to bolster deteriorating security conditions, reintegrate militants into society and crack down on corruption. She also will stop in Pakistan to push greater cooperation between Islamabad and Kabul.
Clinton plans to travel to South Korea, where she will join Defense Secretary Robert Gates for talks on dealing with renewed tensions over North Korea in the aftermath of the sinking of a South Korean warship blamed on the North. She will finish in Vietnam for discussions with regional leaders likely to focus on elections coming in Myanmar.
U.S. officials are keeping specific details of her South Asia itinerary secret for security reasons but say she will lead the American delegation to the July 20 Kabul Conference. There she will renew Washington's commitment to support Afghan President Hamid Karzai's government but press him to follow through on reform pledges he made earlier this year.
Richard Holbrooke, President Barack Obama's special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, has said the conference "will be a very important international demonstration of support" for Karzai and his administration.
Holbrooke acknowledges concerns that the war and the reconstruction effort are not proceeding as hoped or planned.
He told Congress this week that "there are significant elements of movement forward in many areas, but I do not yet see a definitive turning point in either direction."
Last month was the deadliest of the war for international forces, with 103 coalition troops killed, despite the infusion of tens of thousands of new U.S. troops. So far in July, at least 47 international troops have been killed, at least 35 of them American.
At the same time, international troops working with Afghan forces say they have killed or captured dozens of senior insurgent figures since April as they aggressively step up operations against Taliban leaders. However, those successes have not slowed the pace of militant attacks, which continue daily, killing dozens of people each month.


Updated : 2020-12-02 03:18 GMT+08:00