Live from Abu Dhabi Connect the World takes you on a journey across continents, investigating the stories that are changing our world.
It's the first major test in Barack Obama’s strategy to turn the tide against the Taliban and win the war in Afghanistan. Today, the U.S. launched its biggest assault in recent times. According to the Washington Post, thousands of U.S. Marines were told "they were about to make history," before they set out on Thursday to wrest control of Afghanistan's southern Helmand province. This will be no easy task. As I write this, the most popular story on CNN.com is a report of an American soldier abducted in south-eastern Afghanistan and now being held by a notorious militant clan, according to the Americans. Not a good start. Getting involved, of course, are the Pakistanis, who are holding the fort on the border against the flow of militants from their side.
Lot's of connective tissue on this story and lots of unanswered questions: will the surge work? What are the criteria for success or failure? How much help can the U.S. expect from the Pakistani military, as they stretch their resources with a new offensive against the Taliban across the border in South Waziristan? And what of last week's surge by British forces based in Helmand? Much talk that the U.S. believe the Brits have failed in their mission – a fact much refuted by commanders of UK forces in the region who, it seems, believe that the mission in and of itself was flawed from the outset. All this in the run-up to an election which looks set to return Hamid Karzai – a president much-loved by the Bush administration, much-derided by many others involved in this war, both internally and externally.
Our connections on the story tonight take us south of the border to Pakistan and our man on the ground Nic Robertson and to Washington, as we explore the unanswered questions in what could conceivably become one of the biggest western military efforts of our times. As ever, I want to hear how this story resonates with you?
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