Obama mulls decision on more troops to Afghanistan: Official

February 17th, 2009 - 12:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaWashington, Feb 17 (Xinhua) US President Barack Obama will soon announce his decision on the deployment of more troops in Afghanistan, the White House has said.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs, who travelled with the president from Chicago to Washington, told reporters Monday that the government was reviewing the US policy towards Afghanistan and may take a decision soon to send additional troops to the war-torn country.

“As soon as he (Obama) is ready to communicate that to commanders and to families that would have to implement anything like that, I think at that point we’ll be able to communicate that decision to you all,” he said.

However, Gibbs refused to disclose how many new troops would be involved in the troop buildup in Afghanistan.

The shift of military focus from Iraq to Afghanistan, which is considered by the Obama administration as the frontline of fighting against Taliban and Al Qaeda militants, is one of Obama’s priorities since he was sworn in last month.

Defence Secretary Robert Gates said last week that the Pentagon had prepared “several options” for the president after a wide review of US strategy and goals in Afghanistan, and he believes the current US troops in Afghanistan would have all forces they asked for.

The US commander in Afghanistan, General David McKiernan, has requested as many as 30,000 additional troops, including three more combat brigades, an aviation brigade and other supporting troops. It would nearly double the size of the 37,000-strong US force currently deployed there.

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