Last month, the Pentagon confirmed that it would be removing 14,000 support troops from Afghanistan and replacing them with 14,000 combat troops, saying they needed more “trigger pullers” on the ground.
Today, officials are reporting that President Obama has approved another 13,000 support troops for Afghanistan, essentially completing the backdoor escalation that many predicted the moment the support cut was announced.
Defense officials claim that President Obama has been planning this move and has approved of it since March, when he unveiled his “21,000” troop escalation which has quickly become a 34,000 troop escalation. Officials say the number of soldiers on the ground won’t increase by years end, but it seems the president has already made arrangements to see the overall force rise to 80,000+ sometime next year.
This is in addition to the over 60,000 additional soldiers requested by Gen. Stanley McChrystal, which seems poised to raise the occupation force to one larger than even the failed Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980’s. If approved, it will also mean President Obama will have more than tripled the number of American soldiers on the ground since taking office.