Top US commander to request more troops for Afghanistan


Washington : The top US commander in Afghanistan is expected to soon request as many as 40,000 additional soldiers, FOX News reported.

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General Stanley McChrystal could submit the request to Defence Secretary Robert Gates as soon as Wednesday, FOX News reported Tuesday, citing a senior defence official.

“The resource component of General McChrystal’s assessment will be transmitted very soon,” the official said.

McChrystal has completed a strategic review of the situation in Afghanistan, and a classified copy of it was obtained by the Washington Post. The newspaper reported earlier this week that McChrystal warned that without more troops within the next 12 months the mission would “likely result in failure”.

“Failure to gain the initiative and reverse insurgent momentum in the near-term (next 12 months) – while Afghan security capacity matures – risks an outcome where defeating the insurgency is no longer possible,” the assessment said.

US President Barack Obama said last week that he had not yet made any decision on sending additional US troops to Afghanistan, despite some calls for more resources from military commanders. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the situation in Afghanistan was still being evaluated.

“No resource request has come, and I don’t anticipate that it will come for a little bit because there’s an assessment that’s ongoing about where we are right now,” Gibbs said.

US public support for the war has fallen in recent months, and Obama is facing opposition from some members of his centre-left Democratic Party to sending additional troops to Afghanistan.