Obama: Afghanistan Decision in ‘Coming Weeks’
President Barack Obama’s administration is understood to have told the British government that it could announce, as early as next week, the substantial increase to its 65,000 troops already serving there.
The decision from Mr Obama comes after he considered a request from General Stanley McChrystal, the US commander in Afghanistan, to send tens of thousands of extra American troops to the country.
Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup, the Chief of the Defence Staff, said: “I don’t want to put words in the mouths of the Americans but I am fairly confident of the way it is going to come out.”
An announcement next week could coincide with a meeting of NATO defence ministers in Bratislava, Slovakia, due next Thursday and Friday.
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs dismissed the claims, after President Obama met with his war council for the fifth time to map out a new strategy in Afghanistan.
“I would not put any weight behind the fact that a decision has been made, when the President has yet to make a decision,” he told reporters in Washington.
“I’ve seen the report. It’s not true, either generally or specifically. The president has not made a decision.”
But Ministry of Defence sources indicated that the British Government had been told to expect a substantial increase in the number of of American troops.
Earlier Gordon Brown announced the British force in Afghanistan would increase to 9,500 but was told by former defence secretary John Hutton that he should have sent more troops to Afghanistan six months ago. Full Story