President Obama is sending an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan starting this month, he announced today at West Point.
The surge will continue into 2010, and roughly 100,000 troops will be stationed in Afghanistan. The president said American forces would be out of Iraq by the end of 2011, and in July of that year, forces will start leaving Afghanistan.
“I make this decision because I am convinced that our security is at stake in Afghanistan and Pakistan,” Obama said, according to American Forces Press Service. “This is the epicenter of violent extremism practiced by al-Qaida. It is from here that we were attacked on 9/11, and it is from here that new attacks are being plotted as I speak.”
U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., said he is “glad the President has finally outlined his strategy regarding the war in Afghanistan.”
“We need to give our commanders in the field the manpower they need to get the job done,” Isakson said in a statement. “We also must continue to put pressure on the Karzai government to end corruption and drug-trafficking.”
But, Isakson criticized the president over his 2011 deadline.
“I am extremely concerned by the President’s proposal to set an arbitrary timeline for withdrawal because I think that sends the exact wrong signal to the enemy,” Isakson said. “We should pursue this mission to a successful conclusion and then bring our troops home.”