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July 8th, 2009
03:40 PM ET

More Afghan troops needed in Taliban push

U.S. Marines fire a mortar Wednesday in Afghanistan's Helmand province, where they're fighting the Taliban.

U.S. Marines fire a mortar Wednesday in Afghanistan's Helmand province, where they're fighting the Taliban.

CNN

The commander of the U.S. Marines conducting a push against the Taliban in southern Afghanistan said Wednesday that more Afghan security forces are needed to do the job.

"I'm not going to sugarcoat it. The fact of the matter is we don't have enough Afghan forces. And I'd like more," said Brig. Gen. Larry Nicholson, commander of the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade in Helmand province.

Nicholson briefed reporters at the Pentagon by phone from Afghanistan.

Called Operation Khanjar, the push against the Taliban started Thursday with 4,000 American troops, mostly U.S. Marines, and around 650 Afghan forces.

"I'd like to have every Marine battalion partnered with an Afghan battalion," Nicholson said.

"Imagine if I had 4,000 Marines with 4,000 Afghan forces. I mean, it would ... not even be comparable to ... the relative success that we've had over these first seven days."

Nicholson added that police units aren't as well trained as he would like and he plans to work to improve the quality of those forces, including the opening of a police academy.

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Filed under: Afghanistan
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Carol Hornbaker

    I agree with GF, Los Angeles. . . and would like to add. . . Thoughts and prayers with the Marines over there. Thanks to them for such strength. Pushing against the Taliban they are each to be highly commended and appreciated!

    July 8, 2009 at 11:27 pm |
  2. GF, Los Angeles

    Finally some word of what's going on over there. My thoughts are with the Marines over there.

    July 8, 2009 at 8:00 pm |
  3. Tim Gibson

    While it may be said that more troops are needed, who has taken a voice of the Afghan people as to if they want their country to be occupied by the US.

    After we invaded, a new stronger hand of Islam has evolved and pushed women back further from equality. Acid attacks, beatings and rape.

    The Afghan's do not want us in their country and now say, and trust their voice will become louder in this saying, we do not want the US here. Things have gotten worse for our people, for our lives, for our nation.

    We will never win a battle in the Afghan mountains regardless of the troop level.

    However, in the mean time, let us continue to kick out valued members of the military under DADT.

    July 8, 2009 at 7:51 pm |
  4. Annie Kate

    Even though more troops are needed it sounds like a decent base is there to build on with new recruits and more training. Hopefully we won't be there forever but can get the Afghanis up to protecting themselves and get their infrastructure that they need started and then we can turn it over to them and come home. I'm encouraged too by the fact that we can actually state what some of our objectives are in Afghanistan; that makes it a lot easier to tell when we have completed our mission.

    July 8, 2009 at 5:14 pm |