WASHINGTON, Feb 2: US President Barack Obama on Monday ordered three more brigade combat teams for Afghanistan.

The decision was announced after a meeting of America’s three most powerful men — President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Defence Secretary Robert Gates — met at the White House earlier on Monday.

The three reviewed a new strategy for dealing with the insurgency in Afghanistan and Fata.

US officials, while talking to the media, have indicated that the new policy would also focus on Pakistan and not merely as an adjunct to the Afghan war.

The Obama administration fears that a descent into chaos by nuclear-armed Pakistan would be even worse for US secu-

rity than a collapse in Afghanistan.

Two of the three brigade combat teams that Mr Obama ordered to Afghanistan may deploy early spring and one later next year, as early as the end of summer.

A brigade combat team, known by its initial BCT, is a self-contained fighting unit three to four thousand strong.

But officials noted that President Obama had left open the option of sending more troops. The United States currently has 34,000 troops in Afghanistan, as part of a 70,000-strong International Security Assistance Force.

Gen. David D. McKiernan, who commands both ISAF and US forces in Afghanistan, has said he may need 20,000 more troops to bring security to Afghanistan.

The Afghan National Army is nearing 80,000 troops, and the Afghan National Police has almost 82,000 officers.

The army is expected to grow to 134,000 by 2014, while the police force has reached its intended cap.

The increase in US forces is part of Mr Obama’s plan to pull combat troops out of Iraq and focus on the growing threat from a resurgent Al Qaeda in Afghanistan.

While defending the troop surge, Secretary Gates told a Senate panel recently: “There is little doubt that our greatest military challenge right now is Afghanistan.”


Pariah regimes
21 Sep 2021

Pariah regimes

The world usually struggles to tame even real pariah and rogue regimes.


What’s the game?
21 Sep 2021

What’s the game?

Such brinkmanship is being fuelled by incendiary rhetoric as well as inflexible demands of a unilateral nature.
21 Sep 2021

Gas price hike

THE proposed hike of 24pc-37pc in the gas price of the top 23pc residential consumers, who account for 43pc of the...
21 Sep 2021

Green Line buses

AT long last, the first batch of vehicles for Karachi’s Green Line bus project arrived from China on Sunday,...
20 Sep 2021

Banking for women

AS the old adage goes, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. How far the new State Bank initiative —...
Off the red list
Updated 20 Sep 2021

Off the red list

There are aspects of coronavirus management, especially by developed nations towards those less so, that smack of discrimination.
20 Sep 2021

Exciting frontiers

HISTORY was made on Wednesday at the Kennedy Space Centre in Cape Canaveral. It was not the launch of the first, or...