Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Afstan: American ISAF commander still wants a total of four more US brigades

Gen. McKiernan has been saying that for a while. Most recently:
To counter the increasing violence and speed progress in the war, McKiernan said, he needs a permanent increase in troop levels and other assets such as reconnaissance planes.

Although President Bush has said he will send an additional brigade, McKiernan said he needs three brigades beyond that. There are about 33,000 U.S. troops in the country.

McKiernan said the brigade arriving early next year, roughly 3,500 troops, would be sent to eastern Afghanistan [emphasis added] to counter an increase in violence there. The need for the three other brigades requested by his predecessor, Army Gen. Dan K. McNeill, still exists, he said.
Meanwhile, the US troop increase over the next few months will in fact be quite a bit smaller than the media our reporting--and the the withdrawal of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit from Regional Command South is not good news there.

Whilst over the border:
[JCS Chairman] Mullen Visits Pakistan as U.S. Raids Stir Tensions
Whilst back across the border (full-court diplomatic press by the Pentagon I'd say):
Defense Secretary Robert Gates apologizes for Afghan civilian casualties
Gates pledges additional steps by the U.S. to avoid errant bombings and to compensate families of the dead more quickly.
From what I've heard the problem is not with planned air strikes but rather with "emergency" ones when US troops are in the heat of combat.


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