Obama for expanded Afghan security force to stabilize nation

March 19th, 2009 - 3:36 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Mar.19 (ANI): President Obama and his advisers have decided to significantly expand security forces in Afghanistan in the hope that a much larger professional army and national police force could promote stability in that country.
The New York Times quoted senior administration and Pentagon officials as saying that there is a plan awaiting final approval by the president that would set a goal of about 400,000 troops and national police officers, more than twice the forces current size, and more than three times the size that American officials believed would be adequate for Afghanistan in 2002.
Officials said Obama is expected to approve a version of the plan in coming days as part of a broader Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy, but some members of Obamas national security team appeared to have been taken aback by the cost projections of the program, which range from 10 billion dollars to 20 billion dollars over the next six or seven years.
Administration officials have also expressed concerns that an expanded Afghan Army could rival the corruption-plagued presidency of Karzai.
American commanders who have recommended the increase argued that any risk of creating a more powerful Afghan Army was outweighed by the greater risks posed by insurgent violence that could threaten the central government if left unchecked.
At present, the army fields more than 90,000 troops, and the Afghan National Police numbers about 80,000 officers. (ANI)

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