President Barack Obama has indicated that his administration is struggling to cook up a coherent ‘exit strategy’ in Afghanistan.

In a televised interview aired on Sunday, Mr Obama said: ‘There’s got to be an exit strategy – there’s got to be a sense that this is not a perpetual drift.’

Last month, he announced that Washington is to send another 17,000 US troops into the country in an effort to quell the guerilla movement against foreign occupation.

‘I think it is the right thing to do, but it’s a weighty decision because we actually had to make the decision prior to the completion of the strategic review that we were conducting,’ Mr Obama said.

Last week, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband acknowledged that Afghan resistance forces – ‘a terrorist insurgency force’ – had fought combined US and NATO forces to a ‘strategic stalemate.’
And former US national security advisers Brent Scowcroft and Zbigniew Brzezinski, who are advising the Obama administration on the conflict, have warned that a military victory over the guerillas is practically impossible.

The two veteran cold-warriors are calling for the US to use cash handouts to bribe ‘moderate’ fighters, but White House officials reportedly believe that this could spark accusations of appeasement.

And Afghan guerillas raise huge sums of money from the drug trade, making them less susceptible to financial inducements.

Over the weekend US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke observed that an anti-narcotics programme initiated by occupying powers had failed to stop Afghanistan supplying most of the world’s heroin.
‘The Afghan national police is an inadequate organisation riddled with corruption,’ Mr Holbrooke declared.

He added: ‘We know they are the weak link in the security chain, so we have to figure out a way to increase the size and make them better at the same time.’

Washington is expected to unveil a new strategy for the country at a NATO summit in April, when Mr Obama is likely to plead with his NATO allies for more help.

In the TV interview, Mr Obama defined the US mission in Afghanistan as ‘making sure al-Qaida cannot attack the US homeland.’

When the US launched Operation Enduring Freedom in 2001, Western leaders made grand pronouncements about establishing Western-style liberal democracy in the impoverished country