WASHINGTON – U.S. Army General David McKiernan, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, has asked for an additional 10,000 troops to be deployed to the country next year, senior defense officials said on Wednesday.
The officials said no decision was needed on the request until the autumn and President Barack Obama wanted to review progress in the Afghan war later this year.
"There is a request for forces, for those elements," U.S. Army General David Petraeus, the head of U.S. Central Command, told the U.S. Senate's armed services committee in response to a question from the panel's chairman, Senator Carl Levin.
Michele Flournoy, under secretary of defense for policy, told the committee that the administration was open to requests for more troops but expected those requests could change during the year as the war went on.
The number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan is already expected to rise this year from 38,000 to 68,000, Flournoy told the panel. Other nations, mainly NATO allies, have some 32,000 troops in Afghanistan.
Obama on Friday announced a new U.S. strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, which included a decision to deploy 4,000 more U.S. troops to train Afghan security forces.
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