10,000-15,000 more troops needed in Afghan south: ISAF General

Last Updated: Friday, October 16, 2009 - 00:18

Kandahar Military Base: Between 10,000
and 15,000 more troops are needed to maintain security in
restive southern Afghanistan, NATO`s commander in the region
told AFP in an interview on Thursday.

"In RC (regional command) south, to really complete the
`shape, clear, hold, build,` we need at least two additional
brigades of coalition forces, somewhere between 10,000 or
15,000 troops," said Major General Mart de Kruif.

The additional troops include support units for the
brigades, the Dutch officer added.

"Since we deployed the US forces, at the regional level,
it`s very clear that the initiative switched to our side,"
said de Kruif, commander of almost 40,000 International
Security Assistance Force (ISAF) soldiers in the south.

But he said "we absolutely need additional forces" to
clear other areas in the south, such as troubled Helmand
province.

De Kruif was speaking as US President Barack Obama mulls
whether to send more troops to Afghanistan, in addition to the
21,000 deployed in recent months, mainly to the Taliban
strongholds of Helmand and Kandahar.

The commander of the 100,000-strong US and NATO force, US
General Stanley McChrystal, has reportedly asked for up to
40,000 more troops to combat an increasingly bloody insurgency
that is spreading nationwide.

De Kruif said the additional troops were required in
populated areas to counter the potential for Taliban influence
to spread.

Bureau Report



First Published: Friday, October 16, 2009 - 00:18

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