McChrystal Troop Request by End of Week

McChrystal may request between 10,000 and 40,000 more troops for Afghanistan.

September 22, 2009, 8:14 PM

WASHINGTON, Sept. 22, 2009— -- Defense officials tell ABC News that Gen. Stanley McChrystal's request for more troops for Afghanistan may arrive at the Pentagon by week's end.

It is unclear how many additional troops McChrystal may request beyond the 68,000 already slated to be in the country by year's end. Speculation has been that he may request anywhere from 10,000 to 40,000 more troops for the mission in Afghanistan.

The request for additional troops and resources, formally known as a "Request for Forces," is separate from the detailed 66-page security assessment produced by McChrystal that was leaked to the Washington Post on Monday.

The timing of the troop request has been a topic of hot discussion in the three weeks since McChrystal's assessment was delivered to the Obama administration and NATO.

President Obama's comments on several of the network talk shows this week indicated a troops request would have to await a review of the administration's strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

"I just want to make sure that everybody understands that you don't make decisions about resources before you have the strategy ready," he told George Stephanpoulos on ABC's "This Week".

McChrystal's assessment of the security situation in Afghanistan details that the NATO mission in that country, ISAF, "requires more forces."

U.S. Commander in Afghanistan to Request More Troops

According to the assessment, "this increase partially reflects previously validated, yet un-sourced, requirements. This also stems from the new mix of capabilities essential to execute the new strategy."

The assessment says troops alone will not be enough to achieve success in Afghanistan, "but will enable implementation of the new strategy. Conversely, inadequate resources will likely result in failure. "

Mainly, the assessment details the need for additional troops is to gain the initiative and "reverse insurgent momentum in the near term."

The assessment, which looked at the security situation in Afghanistan, made the case that the way to turn around the Taliban's momentum is to pursue a classic counterinsurgency campaign that protects civilian populations.

Pursuing such strategy would require more troops than the 68,000 that are currently scheduled to be in Afghanistan by the end of the year. That number will already be double the number of troops in Afghanistan last year and was made possible by Obama's decision in February to deploy 21,000 additional troops to help stabilize the security situation.

McChrystal's 60-day assessment concluded that the security situation in Afghanistan has continued to deteriorate, despite the presence of the additional troops already ordered by Obama.

The assessment said more troops will be needed in order to pursue a successful counterinsurgency strategy and that a failure to reverse "insurgent momentum" in the short term risks the possibility that "defeating the insurgency is no longer possible."

"Resources will not win this war, but under-resourcing could lose it," McChrystal's assessment said.

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