Friday, December 26, 2008

Pentagon: 30,000 More Troops to Afghanistan

WASHINGTON, Dec 25: The United States is committed to fighting insurgency in the Muslim world for 25 years, says a report released by the US Joint Forces Command.

Besides this general commitment to fighting insurgency, the United States is building permanent military structures in Afghanistan to indicate its plans for a long-term stay in the war-ravaged country.

Earlier this week, the US Corps of Engineers sought bids for some of these projects. One such project in Kandahar could cost as much as $500 million while three separate projects for housing facilities for the US troops will cost at least $100 million each.

Last week, US Defence Secretary Robert Gates, who retains his office in the next administration, assured the Afghan government that the United States was making a “sustained commitment” to that country. “You will see a continuing American commitment to defeating the enemies of the Afghan people during the administration of the president-elect” as well, he added.

On Saturday, Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters that by next summer, up to 30,000 US troops would join the 31,000 already in Afghanistan.

On Wednesday, the official Voice of America radio quoted Mr Gates as saying that the United States was preparing to fight “irregular wars” across the Muslim world for years to come.

The VOA report was based on a study by the US Joint Forces Command saying that the United States was prepared to confront insurgencies and small-scale threats for the next 25 years.

Rear Admiral John Richardson said the study attempting to project global threats over the next 25 years pointed mainly in one direction.

“We see that the future will contain irregular types of threats,” he said. “And we need to be able to respond to those threats and be as superior in the irregular warfare area as we are in the conventional warfare area.”

The VOA report said that Mr Gates firmly supported a deeper US commitment to counter-insurgency in Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere.

What the Pentagon calls “irregular warfare” covers everything from limited conventional war, with tanks and artillery, to urban warfare fighting insurgents, and includes the need to help foreign governments with everything from army and police training to building electrical grids, water systems and effective bureaucracies, the report added.

Meanwhile, The Washington Post reported on Thursday that the Pentagon planned to invest up to $300 million in construction projects at the Kandahar base, in order to house more than 5,000 additional American forces expected to arrive there soon.

Read it all here.

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