Afghanistan: Meanwhile in lovely Nova Scotia…

…Defence ministers from all the countries with soldiers in Regional Command South (including, most notably, Kandahar) are meeting in Peter MacKay’s neck of the woods. I was going to get all snippy about having to read this in French, British and U.S. news sources because of Harper clan secrecy rules, until I looked on the DND website and saw that MacKay’s staff had put up a communiqué about this meeting a week ago. Er, never mind. Highlight:

In some respects the meeting Gates was attending Friday exemplifies the piece-by-piece war strategy. It involved only nations with significant fighting forces in one part of the country — the part where fighting is heaviest.

U.S. officials traveling with Gates suggested he is pushing back against further segmentation. He was telling even strong allies that the additional U.S. forces will support regional war goals, not those affecting any particular province.

The situation in Afghanistan now is the worst since the U.S.-led invasion of 2001 and the country is in danger of a “downward spiral” into violence and chaos, according to an intelligence report draft described to The Associated Press last month.

The National Intelligence Estimate, the work of 16 intelligence agencies, said Afghanistan’s deterioration has accelerated alarmingly since summer. Bush administration officials say privately that Afghanistan is now the single most pressing security threat in the fight against terrorism.

Here’s some more about that “downward spiral” draft NIE.

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