Obama approves sending 17,000 more US troops to Afghanistan

February 18th, 2009 - 11:53 am ICT by ANI  

Barack Obama

Washington, Feb 18 (ANI): US President Barack Obama has approved sending 17,000 more American troops for the flagging war in Afghanistan to change the course of a conflict that his closest military advisers have warned the United States is not winning.

This increase is necessary to stabilize a deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, which has not received the strategic attention, direction and resources it urgently requires, Obama said in a statement.

The White House said the new Commander-in-chief would send a Marine unit and one additional Army brigade to Afghanistan this spring and summer.

About 8,000 Marines are expected to go in first, followed by about 9,000 Army troops, CBS News reported.

The new forces represent the first installment on a larger influx of US forces widely expected this year.

Obamas decision would get several thousand troops in place in time for the increase in fighting that usually comes with warmer weather and ahead of national elections in August.

The additional forces partly answer a standing request from the US commander in Afghanistan, General David McKiernan, who has sought as many as 30,000 additional US forces to counter the resurgence of the Taliban and protect Afghan civilians.

The United States has slightly more than 30,000 troops in Afghanistan now.

The new units are a Marine Expeditionary Brigade unit from Camp Lejeune, N.C., and an Army Stryker brigade from Fort Lewis in Washington State.

Ahead of his first foreign trip, Obama told a Canadian news organization that the United States would seek a more comprehensive, diplomatic approach to Afghanistan, where the US has been engaged in war since 2001. (ANI)

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