Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Military Space News .

Subscribe free to our newsletters via your

US looks to bolster combat troops in Afghanistan

Two US soldiers killed in Afghanistan: ISAF
A bomb blast in eastern Afghanistan Tuesday killed two US soldiers and wounded three other troops serving in a NATO-led force that is fighting an extremist insurgency, the alliance said. The deaths, adding to a mounting toll for international troops in Afghanistan, comes amid a spike in attacks with just two days to go before landmark presidential and provincial council elections on Thursday. "Two International Security Assistance Force service members died and three others were injured after their convoy struck an improvised explosive device in eastern Afghanistan today," an ISAF statement said. The people killed were US nationals, it said, without giving the nationalities of the three wounded. ISAF announced separately that some of its soldiers were killed and wounded in another attack in the Afghan capital Tuesday. It did not immediately confirm the numbers or nationalities of the casualties. Excluding Tuesday's casualties, 42 international troops have been killed in Afghanistan this month, most of them in attacks, according to the website that tracks the tolls for the conflict. There are more than 100,000 mostly Western soldiers under NATO and US-led command in Afghanistan fighting a Taliban insurgency which has seen record attacks this year. Some 300,000 Afghan and foreign forces will be providing security for the August 20 presidential polls. Photo courtesy AFP.
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Aug 18, 2009
The United States on Tuesday looked for ways to bolster combat troops in Afghanistan as President Barack Obama warned the war would not be "quick" and violence threatened this week's election.

With Afghans heading into crucial presidential elections Thursday, US defense officials said the commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, was weighing cutting back desk jobs and other support staff in favor of combat missions.

"The idea is use troops more effectively," a US official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP on Monday.

Reducing non-combat positions would mean "doing more with what you've got versus asking for more" troops, the official said.

McChrystal has been taking a hard look at the war against Taliban insurgents amid widespread speculation he may soon ask Obama for additional US forces -- a politically charged issue at home and abroad.

Cutting the number of support staff could mean the US general would make a more modest troop request, possibly easing pressure on Obama who faces rising anxiety over the war within his own party.

As candidates held rallies at the close of campaigning in Afghanistan, Obama on Monday defended the war as a necessary mission but warned of a difficult road ahead.

"The insurgency in Afghanistan didn't just happen overnight," Obama told the Veterans of Foreign Wars service organization in the southwestern state of Arizona.

"We won't defeat it overnight. This will not be quick. This will not be easy," Obama said.

The US president said the war was "fundamental" to defending Americans by depriving Al-Qaeda of a safe-haven to plot follow-on attacks to the September 11 strikes in 2001.

Although he acknowledged an upsurge in "fierce" fighting in Afghanistan, he vowed to adapt US tactics and ensure the troops have the tools they need to do the job.

There was further violence in Afghanistan on Tuesday, with suicide bombers killing 12 people and a rocket slamming into the presidential compound.

Obama, however, did not offer detailed insight into the evolving war strategy, which has seen thousands of troops and billions of US dollars pour into the country since Obama took office in January.

US troop levels, currently at 62,000, are set to reach 68,000 in coming months, more than double the number in place at the start of the year.

Obama has already ordered an additional 21,000 military personnel to the country ahead of Thursday's elections, in line with his vow to turn the US focus from Iraq to Afghanistan -- which he says poses a greater security threat.

As campaigning ended in Afghanistan, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Washington would remain impartial in the election and would work with whomever voters pick.

"Like the Afghan people we want to see credible, secure and inclusive elections that all will judge legitimate," she said.

"We look forward to working with whomever the Afghan people select as their leaders for the next five years."

President Hamid Karzai, who has ruled Afghanistan since the US-led invasion toppled the Taliban regime in 2001, is the frontrunner but a strong campaign by former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah could force a run-off.

Obama has adopted a cooler approach to Karzai compared to his predecessor George W. Bush, who heaped praise on the Afghan leader and frequently spoke to him by video link.

Obama administration officials have been critical of corruption plaguing the Kabul government and alarmed by Karzai's alliance with a notorious warlord, General Abdul Rashid Dostum.

If Karzai wins, analysts say Washington will likely take a tougher line and demand Kabul do more to fight corruption in return for generous aid.

The elections have been overshadowed by threats from the insurgents, who have warned that Afghans who take part will face reprisals.

Share This Article With Planet Earth DiggDigg RedditReddit
YahooMyWebYahooMyWeb GoogleGoogle FacebookFacebook

Related Links
News From Across The Stans

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

US may work with Arab, Kurd forces in north Iraq: Odierno
Baghdad (AFP) Aug 17, 2009
The United States is discussing arrangements that could see its troops work alongside Iraqi and Kurdish forces in disputed areas of northern Iraq, the senior American commander said on Monday. General Ray Odierno said he was discussing an accord with ministers from the central government and the autonomous Kurdish region that could require that an exception be made to last year's landmark US ... read more

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2009 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement