Obama Is Sending More Troops to Afghanistan
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He promised to do so on the campaign trail, and now he's done it: President Barack Obama has approved a troop increase to Afghanistan. His just-released statement is below. Notice that the forces approved appears to be less than the 20,000-30,000 troops that Gen. David McKiernan, commander of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan, has asked for. Also notice that Obama says that the troop increase does not "pre-determine" his ongoing strategy review.
There is no more solemn duty as President than the decision to deploy our armed forces into harmâ€™s way. I do it today mindful that the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan demands urgent attention and swift action. The Taliban is resurgent in Afghanistan, and al Qaeda supports the insurgency and threatens America from its safe-haven along the Pakistani border.
To meet urgent security needs, I approved a request from Secretary Gates to deploy a Marine Expeditionary Brigade later this spring and an Army Stryker Brigade and the enabling forces necessary to support them later this summer. This increase has been requested by General McKiernan and supported by Secretary Gates, the Joint Chiefs and the Commander of Central Command. General McKiernanâ€™s request for these troops is months old, and the fact that we are going to responsibly drawdown our forces in Iraq allows us the flexibility to increase our presence in Afghanistan.
This reinforcement will contribute to the security of the Afghan people and to stability in Afghanistan. I recognize the extraordinary strain that this deployment places on our troops and military families. I honor their service, and will give them the support they need.