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article imageMore US troops being sent to Afghanistan

By Lynn Herrmann     Jan 6, 2011 in Politics
Washington - As President Obama’s much touted July 2011 date for troop withdrawal in Afghanistan approaches, the Defense Department has announced it is sending at least 1,400 Marine combat forces to the war-ravaged and heavily occupied country.
In a sign of contradiction over previous reports from the US government over its success in Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Robert Gates has decided more troops are in order for the country, and could arrive there as early as next week, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.
The troop surge is seen as an effort to shore up any security gains the US feels it has made in its occupation of the country. Military officials also see the move as important for fighting an expected spring-time offensive by the Taliban, even though military sources as late as last week indicated rival factions were joining forces and the Taliban was wintering over in Afghanistan to fight the US military and NATO forces.
In December, the Obama announced that “we are on track to achieve our goals” in the Af-Pak conflict and overall, “significant progress” has been made, according to the Washington Post.
However, Nic Lee, director of Afghanistan’s NGO Safety Office was recently quoted in the Wall Street Journal as stating: “The country as a whole is dramatically worse of than a year ago, both in terms of the insurgency’s geographical spread and its rate of attacks. Vast amounts of the country remain insecure for the unarmed civilians, and more and more areas are becoming inaccessible.”
Additionally, the Los Angeles Times reported after Obama’s war strategy review statement that the Taliban, in an email to reporters said: “Obama unveils review of the strategy in a time that they left no stone unturned in Afghanistan to beef up the occupation, but all their efforts have failed.”
That same email, sent to reporters in Kabul, also made reference to the Obama hope mantra: “Now he has come with the review of the strategy to present it before the American public and the public of the world in an effort to distract the attention from his failed strategy; to buoy up a new hope and keep people occupied in illusory expectations.”
The troop surge is seen as an attempt at buying time while Afghan security forces continue learning about the transfer of security from occupation forces, set for, at the earliest, the end of 2014.
Republicans, with their new-found power in the recent midterm elections, are seen as supportive of US war efforts in Afghanistan and criticized the withdrawal deadline.
The Wall Street Journal also reported on Thursday that another surge is expected in April and May.
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