Pentagon Plans Afghan Surge of 20,000

Commanders say extra 20,000 troops will quell rising Taliban violence
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 22, 2008 2:24 AM CST
US soldiers board an Army Chinook transport helicopter after it brought fresh soldiers and supplies to the Korengal Outpost on October 27, 2008 in the Korengal Valley, Afghanistan.    (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – US commanders are drawing up plans to send an extra 20,000 troops to Afghanistan over the next 12 to 18 months, Reuters reports. Defense Secretary Robert Gates says the surge will help reverse the rising violence in the country and safeguard elections planned for next fall. Commanders say the current NATO force in southern Afghanistan is overwhelmed by the growing Taliban insurgency.

Barack Obama has said he wants more troops in Afghanistan and plans to urge other countries to send in reinforcements. Britain and Canada complain that they are already doing a disproportionate amount of the fighting, however, and say Obama should be knocking on the doors of the NATO allies that insist on keeping their troops in quieter parts of the country.