US lawmakers seek 'smart power' not more troops for Afghan

Washington: As President Barack Obama mulls over the surge in American troops in Afghanistan, US lawmakers have urged the administration to use "smart power", arguing that sending more forces is not an answer to the war against terrorism in the restive nation.

"Relying on military power alone has not done the job, and escalating the war now by sending in tens of thousands more troops won’t solve the problem either," Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey said.

"That’s why I am calling on President Obama to change our mission in Afghanistan. I have urged him to devote most of our efforts on humanitarian aid, diplomacy, and economic development," he said, adding "These are the elements of 'Smart Security'".

She said they’ll do a much better job of stabilising Afghanistan "than a heavy military footprint".

Noting that things have gotten so bad, Woolsey told the House of Representative yesterday that the casualty rate in Afghanistan is now actually higher than the casualty rate for American troops at the height of the violence in Iraq.

"Without this change in strategy, our troops are likely to face worse, not better, situations. The enemy is learning how to use IEDs more efficiently," she said.

The Congresswoman asked the administration "to move in a new and a different direction for the sake of our country and for the sake of America’s troops and their families," for it is time "to put 'Smart Security' to work in a place where military power alone just isn’t the answer.

Bureau Report