Petraeus seeking broad support for U.S. strategy
Even before he takes command of U.S. military strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Gen. David Petraeus is reaching beyond the military sphere to encourage international support for stabilizing the region, reports Reuters.
Petraeus, whose innovative thinking is credited with helping save Iraq from civil war, met International Monetary Fund and World Bank representatives last week in preparation for new efforts in Afghanistan and Pakistan, officials said.
The move, unusual for a military commander, underscores the Pentagon's emphasis on unifying military, economic, political and diplomatic aid to help the two countries cope with militant violence and economic dislocation, officials said.
On October 31, the Army general will become head of Central Command, responsible for American military interests in 20 countries across the Middle East and Central and South Asia.
"The purpose (of the World Bank and IMF meetings) was to touch base and note the Central Command's interest in supporting comprehensive approaches in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and others," said a military official close to Petraeus.
His arrival at Centcom is widely expected to reinvigorate U.S. strategy in Afghanistan, where U.S. and NATO efforts face grave challenges from an increasingly confident Taliban.
The United States has 32,000 troops in Afghanistan, including 19,000 under Centcom command and 13,000 under NATO.
Petraeus will launch a 100-day assessment of U.S. strategy for Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq and other countries in the Centcom region once he takes over, officials said.