Afghanistan troop surge

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Last US 'Surge' Troops Leave Afghanistan

33K that went over 2 years ago are now out of the country

(Newser) - Nearly two years after President Obama ordered 33,000 more US troops to Afghanistan to tamp down the escalating Taliban violence, the last of those surge troops have left the country, US officials said today. The withdrawal leaves 68,000 American forces in the war zone. The number peaked at... More »

Next in Budget Crosshairs: Afghanistan War

'Money is the new 800-lb gorilla,' says one official

(Newser) - With budget battles in Washington growing ever fiercer and the US military poised to spend $113 billion on operations in Afghanistan this year, cost is going to be the largest factor in troop reductions there, reports the Washington Post . Afghanistan's inaccessibility and lack of resources means nearly everything the... More »

US Sends 1,400 More Marines to Afghanistan

Aim to kick Taliban while they're down

(Newser) - In a surprise move, the Pentagon has decided to send another 1,400 Marines to Afghanistan, putting a cherry on top of the US troop surge before July’s scheduled troop withdrawals. The battalions should be in place by mid-January, and will be concentrated around Kandahar, officials tell the Wall ... More »

Karzai to US: Cut Troop Presence

Afghan prez says war has taken vast toll on people, need to get back to normal

(Newser) - Nine years into the war in Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai sees the toll it's taken on his people and says it's time for the US military to dial down its war effort. "The time has come to reduce the presence of, you know, boots in Afghanistan," he tells the... More »

The Tragedy of Obama's Choice in Afghanistan

And how we might actually be able to escape the war

(Newser) - Underneath all the Beltway intrigue in Bob Woodward’s new book “lurks a saga of tragedy,” writes Fred Kaplan of Slate . The tragic hero: Barack Obama, who, after painstaking analysis, escalated a potentially unwinnable war. Fed up with a Pentagon that refused to offer him any options other... More »

Obama's Afghan Troop Surge Clears Congress

He gets money for increase of 30,000

(Newser) - The House today sent President Obama a major war-funding increase of $33 billion to pay for his troop surge in Afghanistan, unmoved by the leaking of classified documents that portray a struggling military effort. The House voted 308-114 to approve the spending boost for the additional 30,000 US troops... More »

Crazy Karzai Regime Is 'Too Big to Fail'

Erratic Afghan leader understands how deep US is in, acts accordingly

(Newser) - The US is engaged in “asymmetrical” warfare with al-Qaeda and the Taliban, Fred Kaplan writes, but it also suffers an asymmetrical relationship with an increasingly erratic head of state—Hamid Karzai. His regime “depends entirely on the United States,” sure, but because Western powers “have—and... More »

Taliban: We Still Control Marjah

Insurgents deny NATO's claims of early success

(Newser) - A Taliban spokesman says Afghan insurgents are still in control of the southern town of Marjah amid ongoing fighting with NATO and Afghan forces. Spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi said by phone today that Taliban fighters are holding their ground, and that Afghan government claims of 20 dead Taliban fighters were... More »

France: No More Combat Troops for Afghanistan

Minister says France will consider sending extra trainers

(Newser) - The 7,000 reinforcements NATO has promised to send to Afghanistan along with the American surge won't be coming from France. French officials have ruled out sending more combat troops to the country but will consider sending more trainers for Afghanistan's army and police, Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner told CNN... More »

Obama's First Year in Numbers

The Dow is up more than 2,600 points, at least

(Newser) - President Obama is about to celebrate—maybe that's not the right term—one year in office, and the AP takes a look at some numbers that have defined his inaugural turn around the sun.
  • The Dow: Perhaps the only clear victory. The Dow Jones Industrial Average has risen from 7,
... More »

Obama Returns to DC, Packing Epic To-Do List

Terrorism trumped health care over vacation, and there's more

(Newser) - President Obama is back at the White House after an 11-day vacation in Hawaii, and he has his work cut out for him. USA Today runs down the most pressing issues awaiting the president in 2010.
  • Terrorism: The attempted bombing of Flight 253 returned security to the top of the
... More »

US Death Toll in Afghanistan Doubles Over '08

310 have died so far; experts think surge will worsen losses

(Newser) - A bomb has killed the 310th US soldier to die in Afghanistan this year, making the total number of 2009 casualties exactly twice that of the 155 lost in 2008. And though this has been the deadliest year of the war for the US, military officials tell the AFP that... More »

Pakistani Taliban Commander: We're Surging, Too

Waliur Rehman says he's sent thousands into Afghanistan to fight US

(Newser) - A top Pakistani Taliban commander says he sent thousands of fighters to neighboring Afghanistan to rebuff incoming US troops, a claim that comes as a Pakistani army offensive is believed to have pushed many of his men to flee their main redoubt. Waliur Rehman told the AP in an exclusive... More »

Obama's Overseas To-Do List for 2010

Afghanistan, Iran top list that domestic politics could kill anyway

(Newser) - As President Obama noted in his Nobel speech, it’s a scary world out there, and Kevin Whitelaw takes a look at some of the things on his foreign-policy to-do list in 2010:
  • Pacify Afghanistan to some extent: Now that it’s “undeniably Obama’s war,” Whitelaw writes
... More »

McChrystal: We'll Know by This Time Next Year

General says troop surge should show results within a year

(Newser) - The US should know by this time next year whether the troop buildup in Afghanistan worked, Stanley McChrystal told the House Armed Services panel today, though he cautioned that there was no easy road to success. "The sober fact is that there are no silver bullets," he said.... More »

US Gives Iraqis Gear It Needs in Afghanistan

Hard-up commanders irked by millions in equipment left behind

(Newser) - Struggling US commanders in Afghanistan urgently need passenger vehicles and generators—the very same items their counterparts in Iraq are leaving behind as hand-me-downs for the Iraqis. As the military scales back its presence in Iraq, the Pentagon has raised the cap on equipment they're allowed to leave behind from... More »

Obama's Long Road to Afghan Strategy

Prez was relentless in analyzing every angle

(Newser) - Amid cries of "dithering" and the silent finality of Arlington's rows of white tombstones, President Obama calmly, analytically, and exhaustively reviewed all options in Afghanistan before finally announcing to his team on Nov. 29 that he would send in 30,000 more troops. The New York Times retraces the... More »

'Muslim President' Hates Charlie Brown: Tenn. Mayor

Obama's West Point speech forced postponement of Christmas special

(Newser) - President Obama's speech on the Afghanistan troop buildup bumped the annual airing of A Charlie Brown Christmas, really ticking off the mayor of Arlington, Tenn. He apparently hasn't heard that nothing is private on Facebook, where he vented about TV scheduling: "Ok, so, this is total crap, we sit... More »

Marines Launch Large Attack in S. Afghanistan

'Cobra's Anger' aims to disrupt flow of IEDs in Helmand province

(Newser) - US Marines and Afghan troops today launched the first offensive since President Obama announced an American troop surge, striking against Taliban communications and supply lines in a southern insurgent stronghold. In all, about 1,000 Marines as well as Afghan troops were taking part in the operation in Helmand provvince,... More »

NATO Commits 7K More Troops

Britain, Italy, Poland, Slovakia are in; France and Germany mum

(Newser) - NATO answered President Obama's call for reinforcements in Afghanistan today with a pledge to provide 7,000 more troops. The NATO secretary-general, speaking at a press conference, didn't say where the troops will come from, but Britain has already offered 500, and Italy, Poland, Georgia, and Slovakia will each deploy... More »

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