Obama to order additional troops to Afghanistan: Reports

March 27th, 2009 - 2:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama Washington, March 27 (DPA) US President Barack Obama plans to increase troop levels in Afghanistan by an additional 4,000 soldiers in a move to expand the fight against Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants, US news reports said.
Ahead of the White House unveiling its new Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy Friday, the Washington Post and CNN reported that on top of the 17,000 additional combat troops already authorised, 4,000 more would be deployed later this year to serve as advisers to the Afghan army.

The additional deployments would push total US troop strength in Afghanistan well above 50,000.

The new strategy would also require significantly higher US funding, the newspaper said. US military expenses for Afghanistan, currently at about $2 billion a month, are to increase by about 60 percent this year.

Obama was to ask Congress to triple financial aid to Pakistan in the next five years as well to $1.5 billion annually to finance the country’s fight against Taliban militants and their Al Qaeda allies in its border region with Afghanistan, CNN reported.

“The president has decided he is going to resource this war properly,” an unnamed administration officer told the Post.

Obama plans to announce a “simple, clear, concise goal - to disrupt, dismantle and eventually destroy Al Qaeda in Pakistan”, the official said.

More than seven years after the Sep 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the Al Qaeda leadership has moved from Kandahar in southern Afghanistan to an unknown location in Pakistan, from where it planned new attacks, the official said.

Ahead of next week’s NATO summit, analysts said they expected Obama to demand more engagement from Washington’s allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. However, in view of the opposition to an increase in combat troops in many European countries, Obama might ask for more advisory and training personnel and increased funding for civilian projects.

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