McChrystal submits request for extra troops to Afghanistan
The Western commander in Afghanistan pushed ahead his formal request for more troops in person to U.S. and NATO commanders for occupation.
The commander of Western forces in Afghanistan returned to Kabul on Saturday after flying to Europe to push ahead his formal request for more troops in person to U.S. and NATO commanders for occupation, his spokesman said.
General Stanley McChrystal gave his long-awaited request for more troops to U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen and NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Europe, Admiral James Stavridis, said spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Tadd Sholtis.
"At the end of that meeting General McChrystal did provide a copy of the force requirements to Admiral Mullen on the U.S. side and Admiral Stavridis on the NATO side," Sholtis said. The unannounced meeting took place at an air base in Germany.
In a bleak assessment prepared last month and leaked to the media in recent days, McChrystal wrote that his mission would likely fail if he is not given reinforcements for his force, now more than 100,000 strong, including about 63,000 Americans.
Officials have not said exactly how many extra troops McChrystal believes he needs, although U.S. defence and congressional officials have suggested the request would be for about 30,000 extra troops.
President Barack Obama, who has already ordered 21,000 extra troops to Afghanistan this year, has described himself as a "sceptical audience" of the case for more troops.
He has said he will not take a decision on McChrystal's request until he finishes a thorough re-evaluation of the U.S. strategy in the region, a delay that has been criticised by Republican opponents.
His administration is described as divided, with Vice President Joe Biden seen as favouring cutting back the force.
Poll shows opposition to extra troops
A Gallup poll published on Friday showed a rise in opposition to the war, with 50 percent of Americans opposed to sending more troops, while 41 percent supported it. Obama said he understood the public's concerns.
McChrystal's bleak assessment from last month said that the additional troops were needed to enact a new war strategy.
Reuters Last Mod: 26 Eylül 2009, 17:15