Thursday, January 18, 2007

Gates open to Afghanistan troop increase

"Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said Wednesday that American and NATO military commanders in Afghanistan, worried about a resurgent Taliban insurgency, had asked for additional troops and that he was sympathetic to the request.
Speaking to reporters after a two-day visit to Afghanistan . . . Mr. Gates said commanders had 'indicated what they could do with different force levels,' but he would not divulge the size of the increases under consideration. A senior Defense official said late Tuesday that the commanders were seeking fewer than 3,500 more American troops as well as about 1,000 more troops from NATO allies.
. . . The appeal follows the Bush administration’s announcement last week that it was sending more than 20,000 additional troops to Iraq, where the United States already has about 132,000 troops.
. . . 'There’s no reason to sit back and let the Taliban regroup,' Mr. Gates said. 'I think it’s very important that we not let this success in Afghanistan slip away from us.'

The New York Times. Gates Backs Generals’ Afghan Distress Call. January 18, 2007.

posted: thursday, january 18, 2007, 4:12 AM ET


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