McCain Wants Troop Surge in Afghanistan

Tuesday, 15 Jul 2008 10:56 AM

By Jim Meyers

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Two days after a Taliban assault killed nine American troops in Afghanistan, John McCain is calling for a “surge” in U.S. combat troops in that nation.

“There will be a surge in Afghanistan. It will be moving combat troops in and applying the lessons from Iraq and the strategy that was successful in Iraq and taking that to Afghanistan,” a McCain campaign adviser told The New York Sun, saying McCain will call for the troop increase in a speech Tuesday in Albuquerque, N.M.

The call for an Afghan surge first came from McCain’s GOP presidential rival Rudy Giuliani in January, when he said the number of U.S. troops there should be doubled. At the time there were 25,000 American troops in Afghanistan. There are now about 33,000.

Giuliani’s director for foreign policy, Charles Hill, said that the success of U.S. efforts in Iraq makes it possible to deploy more troops in Afghanistan.

“The Iraq war is over,” he told The Sun. “Wars don’t come to an end the way they used to. It ended as best it can end about last December.

“The front has shifted to the Afghan-Pakistan border. We’ve chased them into that corner. That is a very different situation and difficult to handle because of the border and because the terrorists have a sanctuary there. We can’t get into that sanctuary, but Pakistan does not govern it. It is a black hole in the map of world order.”

McCain has been reluctant to discuss what he would do about Pakistan if he wins the White House. Thousands of Taliban fighters are said to be in Pakistan’s tribal areas after the Pakistani national army stopped fighting a counterinsurgency there.

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