Opposing any further increase in American troops' number in Afghanistan, a top Congresswoman has said the US should not send the signal that it is "occupying" the war-ravaged country and sought "a clear exit strategy."
Addressing the House of Representatives, Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey from California said that there are reports that Gen Stanley McChrystal, commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, may ask for as many as 30,000 more soldiers, which would bring the American troop level to about 100,000.
"Enlarging the American footprint in Afghanistan, will almost certainly lead the Afghanistan people to see the United States as an occupying force, and if history has taught us anything, it is that the Afghan people will resist any foreign occupation," she said, adding that was the bitter lesson that the Soviet Union and the British empire had learnt.
Woolsey said Defence Secretary Robert Gates is also concerned about the problem of increasing the US footprint in Afghanistan.
"In a recent interview, Secretary Gates said he asked General McChrystal about the implications of significant additional forces and whether the Afghans will see this as the United States becoming more of an occupier rather than a partner," she noted.