Brits Sending More Troops to Afghanistan, Will the U.S. Follow?

By Gorman Gorman

Oct 15, 2009 2:04pm

ABC's Jordyn Phelps reports:

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced Wednesday that Great Britain is sending 500 additional troops to Afghanistan.

The question now is whether Brown's announcement signals that President Obama will also decide to send more troops to the war-torn nation. President Obama is currently undergoing a review of U.S. strategy in the region with his National Security team, and it is expected that the President will announce a decision in the coming weeks. 

Brown suggested in his announcement that the British decision is not out of line with what U.S. decision-makers are considering.

"I believe the decision we are announcing is consistent with what the Americans will decide," Brown said yesterday.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs denies that Brown's statement signals that the United States has decided upon a troop increase as well, reiterating that the administration is still in the review process.

Speculation was increased over whether President Obama had made a decision on troop levels when the BBC reported yesterday that the Obama administration had already told the UK government it would soon announce a substantial increase to its military forces in Afghanistan.

The White House denies the accuracy of this report.

"The president has not made a decision, and when he does I think you can assume that the BBC will not be the first outlet for such a decision," Gibbs said yesterday. "I would not…throw weight behind the fact that a decision has been made when the president has yet to make a decision."

Gibbs did say that the U.S. has been coordinating with Britain in reviewing U.S. Afghanistan policy and that the White House is thankful for their efforts to strengthen the coalition.

"We're happy for their increase in contributions," Gibbs said.

On the day of Brown's announcement, President Obama held a fifth meeting with his National Security team on Afghanistan and Pakistan. During the three hour long meeting, Gibbs said that troop levels were discussed.

–Jordyn Phelps

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