25 November 2009

More Details About Afghanistan Surge Coming Out

Following up the earlier news of President Obama's troop increase announcement, Reuters looks in greater detail at the proposed increase

The leading buildup option, an increase of 30,000-plus U.S. troops and trainers that NATO will be asked to supplement, has the backing of several of Obama's top national security and military advisers, including Gates.

That would give McChrystal the resources to focus on securing Afghan population centers as well as move against Taliban and al Qaeda fighters in outlying areas.

Discussions have focused on sending two additional brigades, totaling between 10,000 to 15,000 troops, to southern Afghanistan around Kandahar, a key Taliban stronghold.

Another brigade was also likely to be added in eastern Afghanistan near the border with Pakistan.

Brigades range in size but generally include 3,500 to 4,000 troops. They can swell to over 5,000 troops if other units are attached to them. Marine brigades can be larger.

Administration opponents of the larger-scale buildup favor sending closer to 20,000 additional troops. That may be more politically palatable for Obama and his Democratic allies in Congress. It would allow McChrystal to accelerate the training of the Afghan army and police but would provide him with few additional resources for a broader counterinsurgency.

The smallest increase on the table would send another 10,000 to 15,000 troops to focus on training Afghan forces.

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By: Brant

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