Dec. 20, 2008

The United States plans to send between 20,000 and 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan by summer 2009, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mike Mullen, said here Saturday.

General David McKiernan, the US commander in Afghanistan, has asked for more than 20,000 extra US troops to counter a rise in insurgent violence, including four combat brigades, an aviation brigade and other support forces.

“The troops that were asked for in joint discussions with General McKiernan is what we’re going need for the foreseeable future. So I don’t see an increase any higher at this point than 20 to 30,000,” Mullen told reporters.

efoodsMullen said he hoped the extra troops could be deployed by mid-2009.

“We’re looking to get them here in the spring, but certainly by the beginning of summer at the latest,” he said.

The build up would nearly double the US military presence in Afghanistan, raising it from 31,000 troops to over 50,000.


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