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Obama seen sending over 12,000 troops for Afghanistan

17/02/2009 - 21:40

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama on Tuesday was expected to announce the deployment of more than 12,000 extra U.S. troops to Afghanistan, officials said.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the deployment was expected to include one Army brigade and a Marine expeditionary force.

The forces are part of an anticipated U.S. troop build-up that could expand the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan to 60,000 troops, from a current 38,000, in coming months.

Officials said details of the deployment were expected to be announced by the White House as Obama returned from a trip to Denver, where the he signed a $787 billion economic stimulus bill into law.

The announcement of extra forces would be Obama's first major deployment of troops overseas since he took office and comes while the White House is still conducting a broad review of U.S. policy on Afghanistan.

Most of the extra forces, requested by the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, Army General McKiernan, are expected to be sent to the country's southern tier where there is a shortage of troops and an intensifying Taliban insurgency.

(Reporting by David Morgan, editing by Jackie Frank)


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