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U.S. has no more troops for Afghan war until spring
September 23, 2008 / 4:43 PM / in 9 years

U.S. has no more troops for Afghan war until spring

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States will not have enough forces available to meet a request for more troops from NATO’s top commander in Afghanistan until next spring at the earliest, the U.S. defense chief said on Tuesday. “Without changing deployment patterns, without changing length of tours, we do not have the forces to send three additional brigade combat teams to Afghanistan at this point,” Defense Secretary Robert Gates told the Senate Armed Services Committee. “My view is that those forces will become available probably during the spring and summer of 2009,” he said. Under plans announced by President George W. Bush this month, the United States will deploy a Marine force of nearly 2,000 troops in November and an Army brigade of around 4,000 troops in January. But U.S. Army Gen. David McKiernan, the head of the NATO-led force in Afghanistan, said last week that he needed three more brigades plus support units, totaling around 15,000 troops -- in addition to those scheduled to arrive in coming months. The United States now has about 33,000 troops in Afghanistan, including 13,000 under NATO command. But the military has been constrained from sending additional forces by the ongoing troop commitment in Iraq, where there are about 150,000 U.S. forces. (Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Kristin Roberts) ʘ

<p>A U.S. soldier keeps watch at the site where Taliban militants set fire to a convoy of supply trucks in Ghazni, southeast of Afghanistan June 24, 2008. REUTERS/Shir Ahmad</p>
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