U.S. Will Increase Its Troops in Afghanistan
By Dialogo January 07, 2011
Defense Secretary Robert Gates has ordered the deployment of another 1,400 U.S. soldiers to Afghanistan, where they could begin to arrive starting in mid-January, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing U.S. officials.
“The rationale is to take advantage of the gains we have made over the last several months and apply more pressure on the enemy at a time when he is already under the gun,” Pentagon spokesperson Geoff Morrell said, according to the daily.
The troops could arrive in Afghanistan starting in mid-January, ahead of the Northern Hemisphere spring, a time when fighting increases, and will be sent to the south, near Kandahar, The Wall Street Journal said.
Commanders are also studying proposals for a temporary increase in front-line forces, the article added, affirming that the total increase could be up to three thousand men, if the plans are approved.
The United States invaded Afghanistan at the end of 2001 – following the 11 September attacks – and has maintained troops there since then.
An official U.S. report issued in December mentioned an upcoming “responsible reduction” of forces in Afghanistan – currently around 100,000 men – to begin in July, although without forecasting a complete transfer of control to the Afghans until 2014.