Military Seeks Much Bigger Boost for Afghan Forces

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 11, 2009 7:14 AM CDT
Pentagon officials say thousands more American troops are likely to be needed as trainers for Afghan security forces.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – America's new top commander in Afghanistan believes the country's security forces will need a much bigger upgrade than planned if President Obama's strategy is going to work, officials tell the Washington Post. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, still doing a 60-day assessment, is said to have concluded that the expansion of Afghan forces will require billions more than the $7.5 billion currently budgeted, and thousands more American troops to serve as trainers.

Plans are already in place to boost the size of the Afghan army from 85,000 to 134,000 over the next two years, but Pentagon officials believe the number needed is closer to 250,000. Any request from Obama for Congress for yet more resources is likely to lead to heavy criticism of his strategy. But without an increase, one military official involved in training warns, "we will lose the war."