Ben Farmer in Kabul
25 May 2010
Troops are continuing to flood into Afghanistan as part of Barack Obama’s surge, while the United States is rapidly withdrawing from Iraq.
The most recent Pentagon figures show 94,000 US personnel are now in Afghanistan compared with 92,000 in Iraq.
Mr Obama was elected on a pledge to pull US troops from their unpopular involvement in Iraq as soon as possible and instead focus on the “necessary war” to prop up Hamid Karzai’s regime.
He said at the weekend: “As we end the war in Iraq … we are pressing forward in Afghanistan.” “There will be difficult days ahead. We will adapt, we will persist, and I have no doubt that together with our Afghan and international partners, we will succeed in Afghanistan.”
US numbers in Afghanistan are scheduled to peak later this year at about 98,000 as the final detachments of 30,000 reinforcements ordered by Mr Obama in December arrive.
Britain currently has 9,500 troops in the international coalition.
Mr Obama has given his senior commander, Gen Stanley McChrystal, until July 2011 to turn the tide of the insurgency and bolster the Afghan forces. He has vowed to begin withdrawing US troops next summer.
This summer is expected to see continued heavy fighting in southern Afghanistan, particularly around Kandahar, as Gen McChrystal pushes into Taliban strongholds.
A total of 4,400 US troops have died in Iraq since the 2003 invasion compared with just over a thousand in Afghanistan since 2001.
All US combat forces are scheduled to leave Iraq by September and the Iraq government has agreed the US military should leave completely by 2012.
Taking a Closer Look at the Stories Ignored by the Mainstream Media