Wire: McCain Says McChrystal Seeking 30,000-40,000 Troops for Afghan War
Off the Wire:
WASHINGTON, Sept. 27, 2009 -- Newswire services this afternoon reported that the top commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan has asked for 30,000-40,000 more troops to fight Islamist insurgents, Republican Senator John McCain said on Sunday.
The Pentagon has declined to reveal how many troops Gen. Stanley McChrystal has appealed for but the senior Republican senator said the details of the general's request were widely known in the U.S. capital, the French news agency AFP said.
"I think it's the worst -- one of the many worst-kept secrets in Washington. It's 30,000 to 40,000 troops," McCain, former presidential candidate and a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told ABC's "This Week."More than 100,000 foreign troops are deployed in Afghanistan, with the number of U.S. forces set to reach 68,000 by the end of year.
McCain, who has urged more troops for the NATO-led coalition, said he had a conversation with President Barack Obama about the Afghan war over the weekend.
"I think he has a very difficult decision," said McCain, referring to doubts among the president's fellow Democrats and an American public "weary" of war.
"But I believe he'll make the right decision."
Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Sunday he will not present the troop request to Obama until the White House completes a review of strategy over the next "few weeks."
McChrystal has warned in an assessment of the war that without more troops in the next year, the mission could fail.
(Report from newswire sources.)