Troop Surge Number? 34K
With NATO troops, total close to McChrystal request
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 1, 2009 7:36 AM CST
An Oct. 2, 2009 file photo provided by the White House shows President Barack Obama meeting with Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top commander in Afghanistan, aboard Air Force One in Copenhagen, Denmark.   (AP Photo/White House, Pete Souza/FILE)
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(Newser) – The Washington Post has—or thinks it has—the much anticipated number of troops President Obama will deploy to Afghanistan, and it's 34,000. That, combined with 5,000 he's said to be seeking from NATO allies, brings the total within shooting distance of Gen. Stanley McChrystal's request for 40,000 troops. Obama will outline his plan, which also includes an exit strategy, in tonight's primetime address.

The new troops, who will join 22,000 the president authorized earlier this year, for a total of more than 100,000, will be sent in stages starting January. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown previewed Obama's strategy yesterday, telling Parliament the objective is to weaken the Taliban "by strengthening Afghanistan itself," expanding the Afghan army from 90,000 to 134,000 troops over the next year.