Obama Challenges Troop Surge in Afghanistan

Asks for clear strategy before sending more troops
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Feb 8, 2009 6:52 AM CST
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates testifies before the House Armed Services Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington last month.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
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(Newser) – President Obama has called for a review of the planned deployment of up to 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan, a nation that some fear will become his “Vietnam,” the Times of London reports. Some 17,000 more troops were poised to head there last week, but defense secretary Robert Gates held them back at the last minute when Obama failed to receive clear answers from defense leaders about strategy specifics.

“Obama is exactly right. Before he agrees to send 30,000 troops, he wants to know what the mission and the endgame is,” said a defense expert. A surge would focus on fighting militants, with NATO allies and civilians shouldering reconstruction and nation-building duties, the Times notes.