US Takes Charge in Afghanistan

With troop increase, US resources in country tower over NATO's
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Mar 26, 2009 9:32 AM CDT
U.S. soldiers patrol near the site of an explosion in the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, March 15, 2009.    (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)
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(Newser) – As President Obama sends 17,000 more troops to Afghanistan—making American service members two-thirds of the foreign force there—the US is taking a firmer grip on the country’s reins, the Washington Post reports. America’s civilian presence in the country is also growing by at least half, to some 900, who will take a lead role in areas long overseen by other NATO countries. "This is the new reality," said one expert.

The US “will continue to characterize the effort as multinational,” with thousands of NATO representatives remaining, said the expert, a former Defense Department official. “But the center of gravity is going to shift toward the Americans." American resources in the country dwarf NATO’s, and US defense secretary Robert Gates had nearly stopped trying to persuade allies to boost troop levels before Obama took the helm.