USA — Afghanistan

U.S. May Send More Troops to Afghanistan in 2009, Gates Says

By Fred W. Bak­er III
Amer­i­can Forces Press Service 

The Unit­ed States may send more troops to Afghanistan in 2009, Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates con­firmed today. 

Pres­i­dent Bush said dur­ing the NATO sum­mit con­fer­ence that end­ed today that he expects the Unit­ed States would make a sig­nif­i­cant addi­tion­al con­tri­bu­tion to the Afghanistan mis­sion next year, Gates said. 

But Gates backed off any spe­cif­ic com­mit­ment, say­ing the Unit­ed States first wants to see how much sup­port comes from oth­er allies and how secu­ri­ty efforts progress in 2008. 

“I don’t want to make sig­nif­i­cant long-term com­mit­ments of addi­tion­al U.S. forces before giv­ing the allies the oppor­tu­ni­ty to see what they’re going to do,” Gates said. 

The French announced a battalion’s worth of troops — about 700 — would take on part of the mis­sion. Gates also said oth­er nations made com­mit­ments for troops and spe­cial teams. A U.S. offi­cial at the sum­mit said about a dozen or so coun­tries have made com­mit­ments, but it would be a few weeks before final num­bers could be tallied. 

Gates said the 3,500 U.S. Marines deploy­ing to Afghanistan this month through Novem­ber will be able han­dle the 2008 fight­ing sea­son, and that there is no rea­son to push send­ing more U.S. troops. 

“Giv­en explic­it recog­ni­tion by the alliance that this is a long-term project, I think wait­ing a while before com­mit­ting addi­tion­al forces of any con­se­quence from the Unit­ed States makes sense in a num­ber of dif­fer­ent areas,” Gates said. 

Also, because the mis­sion there is an alliance under­tak­ing, one of the con­sid­er­a­tions is how large a role the Unit­ed States should play, as opposed to oth­er allies being involved up front as well, he said. 

The sec­re­tary did not say how many troops would be sent, but it like­ly will not be the 3,500 addi­tion­al com­bat troops com­man­ders on the ground have request­ed. He also did not say where the troops would be deployed, say­ing that deci­sion like­ly would be made by the new Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force com­man­der sched­uled to be select­ed this summer. 

Gates said progress in 2007 showed the Tal­iban they can­not win a con­ven­tion­al fight against NATO troops. The Tal­iban also now con­trol no ter­ri­to­ry in the coun­try, lead­ing them to resort to ter­ror­ist tactics. 

Suc­cess­es in the coun­try in 2008 will deter­mine how many, if any, and what types of troops would be deployed, Gates said. Still, because of the impor­tance of the mis­sion there, Gates said, the Unit­ed States is pre­pared to com­mit “sub­stan­tial” troops. But he added that no spe­cif­ic plans to send addi­tion­al troops are in the works. 

Even with the war in Iraq extend­ing troop deploy­ments there and dwin­dling “dwell time” at home for troops between deploy­ments, there is strong polit­i­cal and pub­lic sup­port for send­ing addi­tion­al troops to Afghanistan, Gates said. 

The sec­re­tary said a “big piece” of any deci­sion on troop lev­els in Afghanistan depends on whether deploy­ments to Iraq can be short­ened. Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, com­man­der of Multi­na­tion­al Force Iraq, is slat­ed to report to Bush and Con­gress next week on progress and the way ahead in Iraq. 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →