President Barack Obama has approved a significant troop increase for Afghanistan, Pentagon officials told CNN Tuesday.
The new troop deployment is expected to include 8,000 Marines headquartered from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, as well as 4,000 additional Army troops from Fort Lewis, Washington. “This increase is necessary to stabilize a deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, which has not received the strategic attention, direction and resources it urgently requires,” Obama said in a written statement. “The Taliban is resurgent in Afghanistan, and al Qaeda supports the insurgency and threatens America from its safe-haven along the Pakistani border.” Obama added that the troop increase in Afghanistan would be made possible in part by the impending troop drawdown in Iraq. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said the original mission in Afghanistan was “too broad” and needs to be more “realistic and focused” for the United States to succeed. “If we set ourselves the objective of creating some sort of central Asian Valhalla over there, we will lose, because nobody in the world has that kind of time, patience and money,” Gates said during a recent Senate hearing. About 38,000 U.S. troops are currently serving in Afghanistan.