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1 Sep, 2009 18:00

Major US troop increase in Afghanistan?

The newly-appointed head of NATO and U.S. forces in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, has announced that he wants to revise their strategy for defeating the Taliban.

McChrystal delivered a classified assessment that is widely seen as the groundwork for a fresh request to add more American forces next year, AP reports.

The general said the nearly eight-year-old war is winnable, but his report is expected to be a blunt appraisal of the Taliban’s increasing tactical prowess and diminishing popular support in Afghanistan for both the foreign-led war effort and the fragile, corruption-riddled central government.

McChrystal says “the situation in Afghanistan is serious,” and success “demands a revised implementation strategy, commitment and resolve, and increased unity of effort.”

The general is expected to brief President Barack Obama on his classified assessment on the war in the near future.

“We’re likely to have a major increase in strength for at least two or three years,” said Tony Blankley, a contributor to The Washington Times. The troop increase, he added, would allow for more time “to build up the Afghan army and national police and perhaps tribal forces, because they are not going to be able to be anywhere near where they need to be.”

Blankley believes McChrystal is probably going to ask for 20,000 to 40,000 more American troops.