Faced with rising violence, U.S. military officials have proposed sending additional troops to Afghanistan this spring in an effort to counter the growing power of Taliban militants.
Pentagon officials want to deploy 3,200 Marines to Afghanistan for a standard seven-month stint who won’t be replaced when they leave. Added to the 27,000 U.S. troops currently there, the additional Marines would boost the U.S. force to the highest level since the 2001 U.S. invasion.
The proposal is supported by Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and could be submitted to Defense Secretary Robert Gates as early as Friday.
But Geoff Morrell, the Pentagon press secretary, stressed that Gates would not rubber-stamp it. “The secretary is going to want to think long and hard about it before he approves it because it involves a serious additional commitment of U.S. forces,” Morrell said.
Gates has spent months trying to persuade U.S. allies to send additional troops.
The number of bombings and clashes with Taliban-aligned militants spiked in 2007, and 117 U.S. service members were killed, according to the independent Web site icasualties.org.
‘Scud Stud’ running for office
The “Scud Stud” is giving up journalism for politics.
Arthur Kent, a Canadian whose live NBC reports on Iraq’s Scud missile attacks on Saudi Arabia during the 1992 Gulf War made him a celebrity, is running for a legislative seat in his home province of Alberta.
Intense and handsome, Kent stood on a rooftop to tell about Iraqi missiles falling on Dharan, Saudi Arabia. He wore a leather jacket and was soon dubbed “the Scud Stud” in the popular press.
“That is a fond memory,” Kent, 54, said Wednesday from Calgary, Alberta. “It’s the kind of nickname that sticks.”
After the war, he left NBC in a contract dispute in 1992. His lawsuit was settled out of court, and he has since worked for A&E, the History Channel and Canadian Broadcasting Corp., and as an independent producer.
He is running as a Conservative Party candidate to challenge incumbent Liberal Dave Taylor for a seat representing a district in Calgary.