Wire: Obama Aides Say More Troops Needed in Afghanistan
Off the Wire:
WASHINGTON, Aug. 31, 2009 -- Newswire services this afternoon reported that many of President Barack Obama's top advisers on Afghanistan say that more troops are needed to reverse Taliban gains in the country's east and south, U.S. officials said on Monday.
Reuters news service said, however, there is hesitation within the White House to another troop increase at a time when public support for the eight-year-old war is eroding, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Reuters noted the following details:
Military commanders and administration and congressional leaders have held preliminary discussions about future troop options, including sending a second 5,000-member Marine Regimental Combat Team to southern Afghanistan, a Taliban stronghold, participants said. This would boost the number of Marines in the country to 15,000-18,000 from just over 10,000.Gen. McChrystal has about 103,000 troops under his command, including 63,000 Americans, half of whom arrived this year as part of an escalation strategy ramped up under Obama.
The debate is expected to intensify after Monday's long-awaited assessment of the war by U.S. Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan.
McChrystal called for the United States and its allies to change strategy, laying the ground for a likely request for more troops later, officials said.
The force in Afghanistan is set to rise to 110,000, including 68,000 Americans, by year's end.
(Report from newswire sources.)
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