for a civilian uplift in Afghanistan?
US Embassy Kabul Photo
Nancy A. Youssef and Warren P. Strobel of the McClatchy Newspapers are reporting that Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal will ask the Obama administration to double the number of U.S. government civilian workers who are in Afghanistan. This is in addition to requesting some 45,000 additional U.S. troops in the country.
“The proposed civilian “surge” is the fourth leg of Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s emerging strategy to rebuild Afghanistan’s economy and government, along with more American troops, vastly expanded Afghan security forces and closer cooperation between U.S. and Afghan troops, including posting troops from both countries at the same bases.”
A State Department official was quoted in the report as saying there were 560 to 570 U.S. government civilian employees in Afghanistan at the end of last year, and that by the end of this year there’ll be about 1,000. The U.S. Embassy in Kabul has reportedly alerted the State Department that hundreds more civilians beyond the total of 1,000 now planned probably will be needed in 2010 and 2011, officials said. The total could end up reaching 1,350, with about 800 in Kabul and about 550 outside the capital.
Richard Holbrooke, the Obama administration’s special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan was quoted in the report dismissing criticism that the civilian buildup has been insufficient so far. “We have a very sustained plan. This is not like taking an existing military unit out of Fort Bragg and training them and then sending them out,” Holbrooke said at a briefing last month. “We have hundreds of people in the pipeline.”
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