Obama puts the brake on troop surge in Afghanistan

February 8th, 2009 - 12:20 pm ICT by ANI  

Barack Obama

Washington, Feb.8 (ANI): U.S. President Barack Obama has called on Americas defence chiefs to review their strategy in Afghanistan before going ahead with a troop surge.

According to a report in the Dawn newspaper, some senior Democrats have expressed concern about the military preparing to send up to 30,000 extra troops without a coherent plan or exit strategy.

The Pentagon is set to announce the deployment of 17,000 extra soldiers and marines, but Defense Secretary Robert Gates postponed the decision after Obama raised some questions about the lack of strategy.

According to the paper, he is said to have asked both Gates and the US Joint Chiefs of Staff: “What’’s the endgame?” and did not receive a convincing answer.

“Obama is exactly right. Before he agrees to send 30,000 troops, he wants to know what the mission and the endgame is,” the Dawn quoted Larry Korb, a defence expert at the Center for American Progress, a Washington think tank, as saying.

During his election campaign, Obama had promised to deploy an extra 7,000-10,000 troops in Afghanistan, but the military has since inflated its demands.

The United States has been pushing Britain to send several thousand more troops but there is just as much disagreement and confusion among British defence chiefs over the long-term aim. Gordon Brown is set to receive a full briefing this week.

General Sir Richard Dannatt, the army chief who will step down this summer, has insisted that troops need a rest and believes he can send only one battle group, senior defence sources said.

General Sir David Richards, his successor, believes that the two extra battle groups the Americans have asked for is the minimum the UK should send, sources said. (ANI)

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