Pentagon study: US should pare Afghanistan goals

A classified Pentagon report urges President Barack Obama to shift US military strategy in Afghanistan by de-emphasizing democracy-building and concentrating more on targeting Taliban and al-Qaida sanctuaries inside Pakistan with the aid of Pakistani military forces. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has seen the report prepared by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, but it has not yet been presented to the White House, officials said Tuesday. The recommendations are an element of a broad policy reassessment under way along with recommendations to be considered by the White House from the commander of the US Central Command, Gen. David Petraeus, and other military leaders. A senior defense official said Tuesday that it probably will take several weeks before the Obama administration rolls out its long-term strategy for Afghanistan. The Joint Chiefs' plan reflects growing worries that the US military was taking on more than it could handle in Afghanistan by pursuing the Bush administration's broad goal of nurturing a thriving democratic government.