Friday, April 4, 2008

U.S. Commits to More Troops in Afghanistan

Go to AP orignal
MUSCAT, Oman (AP) — The United States intends to send many more combat forces to Afghanistan next year, regardless of whether troop levels in Iraq are cut further this year, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Friday.

It is the first time the Bush administration has made such a commitment for 2009.

Gates told reporters while flying to this Persian Gulf nation from a NATO summit in Bucharest, Romania, that President Bush had made the pledge to other allied leaders at the summit on Thursday.

Bush was not specific about the number of additional troops that would go to Afghanistan in 2009, Gates said. The United States now has about 31,000 troops there — the most since the war began in October 2001 — and has been pressing the allies to contribute more.

Until now, the heavy commitment of U.S. forces in Iraq has been a constraint on the ability to increase U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan. But Gates said he did not believe that would be the case in 2009.


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