US Sends 1,400 More Marines to Afghanistan
Aim to kick Taliban while they're down
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 6, 2011 7:22 AM CST
In this Sept. 29, 1010 photograph, a US Marine from the 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines' Echo Company' Echo Company prepares for a patrol in Marjah, Afghanistan.   (AP Photo/Todd Pitman)

(Newser) – In a surprise move, the Pentagon has decided to send another 1,400 Marines to Afghanistan, putting a cherry on top of the US troop surge before July’s scheduled troop withdrawals. The battalions should be in place by mid-January, and will be concentrated around Kandahar, officials tell the Wall Street Journal. And that might not be all; commanders are considering proposals for yet more troops, increasing front-line fighting forces by as many as 3,000.

The moves come in anticipation of the Taliban’s annual spring offensive. The military is desperate to show that its strategy is working, and fears an uptick in attacks could lead to a faster withdrawal. “The rationale is to take advantage of the gains we have made over the past several months and apply more pressure on the enemy at a time when he is already under the gun,” a Pentagon press secretary said.