In the first significant military move of his presidency, Barack Obama will likely decide in “the next few days” whether to send more US troops to Afghanistan, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said.
If Obama is going to order more troops to the country within months, as US commanders have requested, he will need to act before a review of policy for Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan is complete, Gates said Tuesday.
Earlier the president named former CIA official Bruce Riedel as chair of the broad review, with instructions to have it ready in time for a NATO summit in April, the White House said.
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The moves are the latest sign the region is at the top of the president’s agenda, as concerns grow about deteriorating security conditions in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.
“This is the first time that this president has been asked to deploy large numbers of troops overseas, and it seems to me a thoughtful and deliberative approach to that decision is entirely appropriate,” Gates told reporters.