Friday, April 11, 2008

Troop levels reach record high in Afghanistan

Go to USA Today original
BAGRAM, Afghanistan (AP) — The 101st Airborne Division took command of American forces in eastern Afghanistan on Thursday, helping to boost U.S. troop levels in the country to their highest number since the 2001 invasion.
Marching in step, paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne retired the unit's flag during a ceremony under a light rain beside the main runway at Bagram Air Field. Then 101st paratroopers unfurled their flag, officially marking the start of their 15-month tour.

The 101st has 7,200 troops in Afghanistan, several hundred more than the 82nd. Its arrival, coupled with the deployment of some 3,500 Marines to the country's south, has pushed the total number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan to over 32,000, part of a steady rise in force levels as violence has increased over the last two years.

The top American commander in Afghanistan has requested three more brigades — about 7,500 more troops — and the Pentagon has promised that more troops will be sent next year.

Following the 2001 ouster of the Taliban, the U.S. had fewer than 10,000 troops in the country, and no real presence in the volatile south.


No comments: