US to send more troops to Afghanistan next year

April 5th, 2008 - 3:46 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, April 5 (Xinhua) US President George W. Bush has told NATO allies that America would send more troops to Afghanistan in 2009. US Defence Secretary Robert Gates told reporters while flying to Oman from a NATO summit in Bucharest, Romania that the president brought up the offer at a dinner with other NATO leaders Friday, the American Forces Press Service reported.

However, he did not disclose the specific number of troops, saying that the US first wants to see how much support comes from other allies and how security efforts progress in 2008.

“I don’t want to make significant long-term commitments of additional US forces before giving the allies the opportunity to see what they’re going to do,” he said.

He expressed confidence in the bipartisan support for the move, saying: “No matter who is elected president, they would want to be successful in Afghanistan.”

The secretary said any decision on sending troops to Afghanistan would depend on the Iraqi situation.

General David Petraeus, the US commander in Iraq, is scheduled to make recommendations April 8 and 9 on the progress made so far in Iraq.

Currently, the US has 29,000 troops in Afghanistan, half of whom are part of a 40,000-strong NATO force.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy also announced an additional battalion of around 700 soldiers to Afghanistan at the Bucharest summit.

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