WASHINGTON - In a sign that the United States is gearing up for a long haul in Afghanistan, General David Petraeus plans to open a new intelligence organisation at the US Central Command that will train military officers, covert agents and analysts for assignments in Afghanistan and Pakistan lasting up to 10 years, an American newspaper reported Monday. The decision to open the centre comes as top US military officials say the fight in Afghanistan is getting tougher and security is deteriorating. In a dispatch, The Washington Times said that the new training centre, called the Centre for Afghanistan Pakistan Excellence, would be opened this week. It will be led by Derek Harvey, a retired colonel in the Defence Intelligence Agency who became one of the Gen Petraeus most trusted analysts during the 2007-08 counterinsurgency campaign in Iraq. Gen Petraeus is now the head of the United States Central Command, set up in 1983, with responsibility for American security interests in 20 nations in Central Asia and the Middle East. Harvey told the newspaper that the centre will build on some of the lessons that he and the military learned in Iraq, not just for counterinsurgency but also in terms of intelligence analysis. He said that the operation would focus on fielding intelligence from a wider array of sources, including teams who are interacting closely with the local populations. If you only rely on the intelligence reporting, you can get a skewed picture of the situation, he said, calling the new approach widening the aperture. He said the training programme will immerse officers and analysts in local culture and language, and that they will be asked to sign on to work in the region for at least five years. The training academy will submerse future analysts, officers and covert operators in Pashtu and Dari language and culture courses, The Washington Times said. Recruits also will be asked to sign a form that commits them to work on Afghanistan and Pakistan for at least five years. These people are going to be working this programme for the next five to 10 years, Harvey said. We did not plan for the long term. In Afghanistan, we are planning for success, and that requires human capital. We are putting into place the things we need to do for that. Asked whether the new training commitments suggest a long-term military presence in Afghanistan, Harvey said those decisions are above his pay grade. But he said, Even if we downsize, we are still going to have investments in South Asia. The centre will be coordinating with the Defence Intelligence Agency, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the (NATO) International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, and Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe. Missing from the list, however, is the CIA, the dispatch pointed out. Harvey said the CIA had detailed many analysts to support his new centre, and dismissed claims that the CIA was deliberately cut out of the loop. A spokesman for the agency, George Little, was quoted as saying, The CIA has an excellent relationship with Centcom. Theres a robust and routine exchange of intelligence and analytic views between the two organisations.