Obama to Send More Troops to Afghanistan

Via AP News:

Concerned about the faltering war in Afghanistan, President Barack Obama plans to dispatch thousands more military and civilian trainers on top of the 17,000 fresh combat troops he’s already ordered, people familiar with the forthcoming plan said Thursday.

President Obama will to lay out his “revamped strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan on Friday” and will “call for increasing aid to neighboring Pakistan as long as its leaders confront militants in the border region.”

Marc Ambinder notes that Obama “will endorse a Senate bill, authored by Sens. John Kerry and Richard Lugar, that would condition a significant increase in aid to Pakistan on measurable improvements in Pakistan’s internal efforts to combat terrorism.”  

The new bearing reflects Vice President Joe Biden’s imprint. He has been arguing internally for a more focused counterterrorism mission rather than a larger, more complex counterinsurgency mission, which would involve significantly more American resources and troops. Though the President plans to endorse the concepts of counterinsurgency as a means to fight the Taliban, it will not be the primary objective of U.S. and NATO troops. U.S. policy also focuses on improving the legitimacy of Afghan government institutions by endorsing anti-corruption drives, by devoting U.S. resources to counternarcotics missions, and by providing basic goods and services to Afghans outside Kabul.

Administration officials briefed Congress on the outlines of the policy this afternoon; NATO and EU countries were looped in on Wednesday.

In related Afghanistan news, Reuters reports that a “would-be suicide bomber accidentally blew himself up on Thursday, killing six other militants as he was bidding them farewell to leave for his intended target.”

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