February 17th, 2009
06:04 PM ET

Details of new U.S. plans in Afghanistan

Reporter's Note: Tune in to hear more on this story from Peter Bergen tonight on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.

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Barbara Starr | BIO
Pentagon Correspondent

A few points from a US military official with specific direct knowledge of the Afghanistan deployment and what the US military is planning there.

1. the increased troop levels expected to last at minimum three to four years.

2. Obama authorized 17K, 12K will get orders soon, another 5K of support troops will get their orders at a later date.

3. The additional troops will ALL go to Afghanistan’s southern border region with Pakistan. The aim is primarily (but not solely) to begin to stop the flow of foreign fighters across that border.

4. The US troops will be dual purpose: combat and also training afghan army units. But at least another 2,000 US troops needed specifically for the training mission.

5. The concept of operations by the US military: build a new string of forward operating bases (main base areas) and combat outposts (smaller posts in towns and villages like you saw in Iraq)…troops will move around…engaging in both counter terrorism (fighting foreign fighters essentially) and counter insurgency (fighting basic taliban and insurgents inside the country….including the so-called ‘day hires’ that join the Taliban just for money.

6: goal: to have enough troops to ‘seize and hold’ territory…and maintain basic security in an ever broadening area –there simply haven’t been enough troops to hold ground.

7. Taliban continue (as we have said since nov) to maintain at least half a dozen safe haven areas inside Afghanistan. these are prime target areas for US.

Filed under: Afghanistan • Barbara Starr
soundoff (62 Responses)
  1. kenneth- Wisconsin

    On Sept 26, 2006 Then candidate Obama vowed to go one the offensive in Pakistan to get bin Lauden. "Our real enemy". I guess those now questioning were watching American Idol that day. While I didn't vote for Obama, I agree with his decision to move the troops. We can't drop our guard on this War on Terror or whatever he wants to call it.

    February 18, 2009 at 1:50 pm |
  2. Fred

    My son, who is currently deployed in Iraq, informed me that there is talk that his brigade could be transferring to Afghanistan by spring.

    As strange as it may sound, I was a bit relieved when my son originally found out that he was going to Iraq instead of Afghanistan, but for some strange reason, I always felt that he would wind up there, if not now, probably on another deployment. Not feeling to relieved today.

    February 18, 2009 at 1:44 pm |
  3. Pam Angulo

    I am a mother of a soldier. He believes if we can give them just a chance at having what we take for granted then his time in battle is worth it. Yes we hear the bad, but he has been to Iraq twice and tells us of the good. He is now one slated to go to Afghanistan soon to the southern border. If we let our military do their job (fight) and stop expecting them to be peace keepers and trainers we will get control over there. But as my sons says if we have to answer every time we have to shot at someone because they shot at them (like his last time in Iraq) we will not be able to do our job. Pray for their protection and that they are given the chance to show that the are the BEST military in the world and not afraid to defend the down trodden.

    February 18, 2009 at 12:58 pm |
  4. shaasu

    President Obama is doing what is necessary. We need troops in Afghanistan instead of Iraq. Members of the military should support this plan.

    February 18, 2009 at 12:54 pm |
  5. Serena Carmel, Greensboro, NC

    All politicians are more of the same. To get to power and stay in power they have to follow the policies of those that put them there. Arms merchants and international bankers make money when wars are prolonged. They fund both sides. No wonder the Taliban are still a force.

    Same with the economy. Borrow more as a nation so that we the taxpayers pay more interest to the bankers.

    These guys create a problem and present a solution which makes them money. It has always been that way.

    February 18, 2009 at 12:15 pm |
  6. Edwards Okolo

    President Obama is going a great job, its for the future and we all need to support him. If america comes out of the middle east in a rush same way they will hit at us again in a rush. Our peace and security lies with this policy of increased millitary presence in afghanistan.

    February 18, 2009 at 12:09 pm |
  7. Canadian Dude

    I think if we actually focus on development and training good judges and cops there that we can suceed, but forsure there is no way of taking out the entire taliban infracture without attacking Pakistan so that opens the question if we should defy pakistan and attack them. I think it is an idea worth considering.

    February 18, 2009 at 11:01 am |
  8. Larry L.

    Obama and the Democratic Congress just signed the largest SPENDING BILL in our countries history(2/17/09).Today (2/18/09) they are asking our solders to go to Afghanistan and put themselves in harms way and fight the terrorist to protect the U.S. and the world.

    What did our President and Congress do to show the countries GREAT appreciation for our brave sons and daughters dieing and being wounded in the largest spending bill in history?

    Nearly all items for Veterans Affairs were reduced and the $2 billion the Senate wanted for VA construction was wiped out altogether. The VA did get one thing: $1 billion for medical facilities renovation and retooling.

    # Military construction: Cut and put into a general pot, a change from targeted money for each branch of the services. Army construction alone went from $600 million in the Senate and $900 million in the House to $180 million in the final bill. But negotiators compromised over a general military construction fund — the House wanted $3.75 billion while the Senate allocated $118 million and settled on $1.45 billion for all services.


    February 18, 2009 at 9:30 am |
  9. Sen Can

    It is a grave mistake in part of our military commanders to insist in deploying more troops in this rough border area. The terrain provides too many possibilities for the enemy to hide and execute surprise attacks on our troops. Taliban forces are extremely adapt to this kind of guerrilla warfare and are fierce fighters in close range. We have option of choosing the type of battles to engage and we are choosing a wrong one. If the media tell us the truth, unfortunately we will see the coffins coming home more often than ever.

    February 18, 2009 at 8:51 am |
  10. Joy

    Those of you who got the impression that Candidate Obama promised to "end the war and bring all the troops home" must have only been listening to or reading sound bites. He said time and time again, that he would draw down the troops in Iraq (where we should never have gone in the first place) and REFOCUS and REDIRECT our military in a smaller and more concentrated force to the place where the man who planned and attacked our country is still being harbored and supported. World politics and foreign policy is a very complex subject to master, but PLEASE do not accuse President Obama of lying because you stopped listening (or reading) right after you heard the phrase you wanted to hear. He was quite clear actually (especially as he continually needed to counter the McCain/Palin campaign ads) that he was prepared to do whatever was necessary to protect and defend the United States of America. I too, want our troops out of Iraq and the Middle East and home with their families as soon as possible, but our only real hope of that now lies with replacing years of "all or nothing yahoo" reactions with the thoughtful intelligent policies of President Obama. In point of fact, he is fulfilling his promise at record speed!

    February 18, 2009 at 7:34 am |
  11. Gerhard

    Congratulations Mr Obama.. Sometimes even maintaining the situation is a good thing.. considering the alternate for a population of people that really deserve a peaceful environment in which to fight the daily battle of surviving. Afghanistan a land that is harsh enough to pose a considerable challenge to maintaining even the barest minimum level of survival against all odds. Your decision brings hope to many in this day!

    February 18, 2009 at 4:53 am |
  12. Bryan

    I like how people didn't pay any attention to the elections. Obama continually stressed that Afghanistan was central to the war on terror. He said he would refocus efforts to get Bin Laden. I guess you hear what you want to hear.

    Job well done.

    February 18, 2009 at 4:43 am |
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