U.S. review likely to say Afghanistan situation 'dire'

A classified review of U.S. policy in Afghanistan is likely to judge that the United States is losing ground there, according to a government official involved with preparing the review.

The review is likely to say the U.S. doesn't have forces for an Iraq-style "surge."

The review, under way since September 20 and led by Lt. Gen. Douglas E. Lute, the senior National Security Council official responsible for Afghanistan and Iraq, has yet to reach any definitive conclusions. But according to one of the participants in the review there was no disagreement among the 24 government agencies that participated that Afghanistan is in a "dire situation."

The official involved in preparing the review said participants at a recent private meeting discussed developments in Afghanistan including:

• Violence is up 543 percent in the last five years,

• Drug cultivation is up 100 percent since 2003, and

• Afghan support for international forces in Afghanistan is down by 33 percent in the past few months.

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