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Obama says yes we can to war

In an attempt to stabilise a deteriorating situation, President Barack Obama has approved sending 17,000 more US troops to Afghanistan over the next few months, reports V Krishna.

world Updated: Feb 18, 2009 23:32 IST
V Krishna

In an attempt to stabilise a deteriorating situation, President Barack Obama has approved sending 17,000 more US troops to Afghanistan over the next few months.

It was Obama’s first major military decision. “There is no more solemn duty as president than the decision to deploy our armed forces into harm’s way,” he said.

A Marine expeditionary brigade with about 8,000 troops will be deployed in April-May, an official at the Defence Department, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Hindustan Times.

An Army brigade of 4,000 soldiers equipped with Stryker armoured vehicles will follow in July. About 5,000 additional troops will be deployed to support these combat forces, the department said in a statement.

The United States already has 38,000 troops in Afghanistan apart from 30,000 military personnel from allied nations. But the violence is expected to rise further in the spring and afterwards in the runup to presidential elections set for August 20.

The new troops are expected to be deployed in the south, which has been worst hit. A US military official told CNN that one of the goals was to stop the flow of foreign fighters in the area bordering Pakistan.

Army Gen. David McKiernan, the US commander in Afghanistan, had asked for 30,000 additional troops, and President Bush sent about 6,000.

The situation in Afghanistan, Obama said, had not received the strategic attention, direction and resources it urgently required. “That is why I ordered a review of our policy upon taking office.”

Later, Obama spoke with Afghan President Hamid Karzai on the phone. They discussed security issues and the elections, the White House said. It was their first conversation since Obama's inauguration four weeks ago.