Top Afghan Troop Request Is 60K—Not 40K

Obama and team meet again today on strategy
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 9, 2009 7:15 AM CDT
Marine squad leader Sgt. Matthew Duquette, left, of Warrenville, Ill., walks with Afghan National Army Lt. Hussein in Helmand province.   (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, file)
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(Newser) – The troop requests on the table as President Obama meets with his security team again today are even higher than has been reported: The top option is 60,000, not 40,000, the Wall Street Journal reports, though Gen. McChrystal is backing the middle figure, 40,000. The third and final choice is a small increase that would keep the troops at about 68,000—where they'll be by the end of the year, says the Journal.

Part of settling on the right number is a matter of logistics. Army officers tell the Journal, for example, that they don't have enough helicopters to ferry 40,000 new troops around safely. Vehicles for shoddy roads are another big problem. A Washington think tank warns those issues won't be resolved before next summer.