A U.S. official familiar with Gen. McChrystal’s confidential troop request submitted to the White House confirms that it exceeds 60,000.
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President Barack Obama’s top commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, submitted an official request for more troops in Afghanistan at the end of September after submitting a report to the Pentagon August 30 that not committing more troops—on top of the Administration’s doubling of troops in 2009—risks “mission failure. The August report was ‘leaked’ late last month.
ABC News reported that Gen. McChrystal’s official request—expected to be deliberated by the Administration today—exceeds 60,000 more troops to add to the 68,000 U.S. troops of the 100,000+ International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) troops set to be present at the end of this year. The Wall Street Journal and FOX News report “a U.S. official familiar with the document” confirms the report. (h/t: Jason Ditz)
Jason Ditz, AntiWar.com news editor, writes: “The news comes as quite a surprise, as previously the general had been reported to be calling for an additional 45,000 troops, but had also said that 40,000 more troops was the absolute minimum needed.”
This detail should not come as a surprise as msnbc’s Andrea Mitchell reported that military sources have said that: redacted in the August report is the assessment that 500,000 “boots on the ground” are needed between ISAF and Afghan forces. Relaying that report September 27, I wrote—citing Julian Barnes and Mark Magnier at the Los Angeles Times:
The number floating around over the last week has been that of 40,000 troops requested to be added to the ISAF in 2010. That number is being mistaken for Gen. McChrystal’s formal request. The number—40,000-–is what “Kimberly and Fred Kagan, defense analysts who helped McChrystal prepare his assessment of the war” are estimating are needed “to pursue counterinsurgency strategy”
Analyzing Gen. McChrystal’s assessment, I concluded in that post: an absolute minimum of 200,000 troops were needed by the U.S.-led ISAF coalition for the commander’s near-term counterinsurgency strategy. Adding 60,000 more U.S. troops in 2010 would put the ISAF presence at over 165,000—128,000 of whom would be U.S. troops, around the current U.S. troop presence in Iraq.
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