Obama says he will not rush more troops to Afghanistan


Washington : President Barack Obama has said he would not rush into a decision over whether to send more US troops to Afghanistan.

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“I will never rush the solemn decision of sending you in the harm’s way. I won’t risk your lives unless it’s absolutely necessary,” Obama told a gathering of some 3,500 military personnel at a naval air station in Jacksonville, Xinhua reported Monday.

“This is very important as we consider our next steps in Afghanistan,” he stressed.

Stating that he “will never hesitate to use force to protect the American people or our vital interests”, Obama pledged that even if it’s necessary to send the US troops into war, “we will back you up to the hilt”.

The US troops “deserve the strategy, the clear mission, the defined goals and all of the equipment and support you need to get the job done”, said the president, adding that “we are not going to have a situation in which you are not fully supported back here at home”.

“That is a promise that I will always make to you,” said Obama.

The president’s remarks came as his administration faces growing pressure to decide on whether to further increase the number of American troops in Afghanistan following an eight-year war.

But the decision is so hard to make as top US officials are still split on the future direction of the Afghan strategy.

The speech was made against a backdrop of rising US casualties in Afghanistan and political turmoil surrounding a planned Nov 7 Afghan presidential election runoff.

Fourteen US troops died Monday in Afghanistan following two helicopter crashes, making it the deadliest day for US troops in Afghanistan in four years.

“While no words can ease the ache in their hearts today, may they find some comfort in knowing this: like all those who give their lives in service to America, they were doing their duty and they were doing this nation proud,” he said.

“They were willing to risk their lives, in this case, to prevent Afghanistan from once again becoming a safe haven for Al Qaeda and its extremist allies,” Obama added.