Sunday, Dec 21, 2008
The chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff says up to 30,000 extra troops could be sent to Afghanistan in 2009, almost doubling the US presence.
“Some 20 to 30,000 is the window of overall increase from where we are right now,” Adm Mike Mullen said.
The timeframe of deployment has also been shortened, with reinforcements set to arrive by summer at the latest.
On Friday, US Defence Secretary Robert Gates ordered the deployment of a combat aviation brigade by spring.
There are currently 31,000 US troops in the country, 14,000 of whom are part of the 51,000-strong Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf).
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Speaking to reporters after a visit to the Afghan capital, Adm Mullen revealed that the US military planned to as much as double its presence by the middle of next year in order to fight the growing Taleban insurgency.
“Some 20 to 30,000 is the window of overall increase from where we are right now. I don’t have an exact number,” he said.