Fortifying and defending a handful of Afghan cities while ceding control of the vast countryside to the Taliban seems less a strategy for victory than a delaying tactic to stave off defeat. The “defend the cities” option, gaining favour this week in Washington as President Barack Obama nears a decision on whether to send tens of thousands more American soldiers to Afghanistan, echoes a reality already under way. Even before he called for reinforcements, General Stanley McChrystal, the NATO and U.S. commander in Afghanistan, had ordered a temporary pullback of troops from remote and vulnerable outposts. But pulling back for...
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