Washington, D.C. (AHN) – President George Bush said on Wednesday that he is planning to fly more troops to Afghanistan in spite of the increasing violence in the Islamic nation.
“It has been a tough month in Afghanistan, but it’s also been a tough month for the Taliban,” the President said during a press conference at the White House, according to an official transcript. “I am confident that the strategy is going to work… We’re constantly reviewing troop needs, troop levels. We’re halfway through 2008; as I said, we’re going to increase troops by 2009.”
“We have doubled Afghan troops — coalition troops have doubled from two years ago,” he added. “So there is an active presence and there are more troops there than there were. But we’re constantly reassessing and seeing whether or not we can change tactics in order to achieve our objective.”
American casualties in Afghanistan peaked to 28 in June, the highest ever since the United States invaded it in 2001. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Navy Adm. Mike Mullen has expressed concern about the “more organized and efficient” insurgency, saying in a press conference the same day, “Violence is up significantly from a year ago,” according to the Defense Department.
Mullen also reiterated his call to increase troops in Afghanistan, where 32,000 U.S. troops make up the 53,000-strong NATO-led coalition.
“We are exploring a number of options and opportunities to get a better understanding of the scope of the threat and the best means with which to counter it,” Mullen said. “I’ve made no secret of my desire to flow more U.S. forces to Afghanistan just as soon as I can. Nor have I been shy about saying those forces will not be available unless or until the situation in Iraq allows us to do so.”
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