Washington: The US military has ordered 850
troops to Afghanistan to fill a shortage of trainers for
security forces, as European allies needed more time to deploy
their instructors, the Pentagon said today.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates approved the deployment of
about 150 Marines and an Army battalion for a 90 to 120-day
assignment, officials said.
"It is designed as a bridging force to try buy the allies
a little bit more time to get the remainder of their trainers
in place," press secretary Geoff Morrell told.
The move would ensure that training efforts for Afghan
army and police would not be disrupted or slowed down as
European states work to meet their pledges to supply trainers,
"This is not a long-term answer to the persistent problem
of a shortage of trainers. This is a stopgap, temporary
solution," he said.
US and European officials see the training and equipping
of Afghan security forces as crucial to an eventual withdrawal
of NATO-led forces.