Washington (AFP) Aug 23, 2009
US military commanders in Afghanistan told President Barack Obama's chief envoy to the region hat they did not have enough troops to do their job, The New York Times reported late Sunday.
The newspaper said the commanders spoke this weekend with Richard Holbrooke, who over the past two days, visited all four regional command centers in Afghanistan.
All four told him that while the additional US troops have had some benefit in the south, the numbers remain below what commanders need, the report said.
The total size of the US force in Afghanistan is now about 57,000. It was unclear whether the commanders told Holbrooke exactly how many additional troops might be required, the paper said.
The assessment comes as the top US commander in the country, General Stanley McChrystal, has been working to complete a major war strategy review.
Eastern Afghanistan, in particular, has been a trouble spot, The Times said. On Sunday, during Holbrooke's stop at the Bagram military base, Major General Curtis Scaparrotti, commander of the United States and NATO forces in eastern Afghanistan, told him that the Haqqani rebel network was expanding its reach.
US commanders believe that the network, whose leaders Jalaluddin Haqqani and his son Sirajuddin have been linked to Al-Qaeda, are using sanctuaries in Pakistan to launch attacks against US and Afghan forces, according to the report.
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