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U.S. General Maps New Tactic to Pursue Taliban and Qaeda

The commander of American-led forces in Afghanistan said Tuesday that the military had adopted new tactics to combat Taliban and Al Qaeda militants in the country. The officer, Lt. Gen. David W. Barno of the Army, said that in the past three months, American units down to the level of 40-soldier platoons had been dispatched to live in villages where they can forge ties with tribal elders and glean better information about the location and activities of guerrillas. In the past, he said, American forces typically gathered intelligence about hostile forces, carried out focused raids for several days against those targets, then returned to base to plan and prepare for their next mission. “What we’re doing is moving to a more classic counterinsurgency strategy here in Afghanistan,” General Barno told reporters at the Pentagon in a videoconference from his headquarters in Kabul, the capital. “That’s a fairly significant change in terms of our tactical approach out there on the ground.” Full Story

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