US firm on Afghan plan

US firm on Afghan plan

US firm on Afghan plan

Despite recent violence in Afghanistan which has killed 2 US officials, the Pentagon announces it will not change its long-term plans. AP photo

The Obama administration will not swerve from plans to move into an advisory role in Afghanistan, U.S. officials said Feb. 27, despite the killing of U.S. advisers over the weekend that underscored the risks foreign soldiers will face as they rush to train Afghan forces.

“We’re not going to let the events of the past week, which are regrettable and unfortunate and tragic, influence the long horizon view that we’re taking,” Defense Department spokesman George Little told reporters at the Pentagon. “There is absolutely no reason to change course when we’re making the kind of progress we’re making,” Little said later. Concerns about the future of the U.S. fight in Afghanistan have mounted in recent days, as protests over the burning of copies of the Quran on a U.S. military base have raged and after two U.S. officers were shot inside the Afghan Interior Ministry, prompting NATO, Britain, Germany and France to pull advisers from ministries in Kabul.

Afghan diplomat arrested for spying

Meanwhile, Afghanistan’s spy agency said Feb. 27 that a senior foreign ministry diplomat and three other government officials had been arrested over charges of spying for neighboring Iran and Pakistan. The men were detained “on charges of spying for neighboring regions” and “the arrests were made with concrete evidence,” the agency’s spokesman said.

The spokesman refused to provide details but a senior intelligence official, who wants to remain
anonymous, said the men worked for Iran and Pakistan -- both accused of interference in the troubled nation.

“One of them is a senior diplomat at the foreign ministry, he’s the deputy head of the Asia desk. The others are government employees in the provinces of Nangarhar and Herat,” the official said. The official stated that the senior diplomat and two of the three other men were providing intelligence for Pakistan’s military intelligence agency.