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Monday, 3 August 2009

U.S. generals to demand thousands of additional soldiers for Afghanistan

Tens of thousands more U.S. soldiers may soon be needed in Afghanistan to quell the raging Taliban insurgency, top American generals are preparing to tell President Barack Obama.

A spate of apparently deliberate leaks - seemingly aimed at preparing public opinion for a second "surge" involving as many as three or four more brigades or 20,000-plus soldiers and Marines - culminated yesterday with several reports saying General Stanley McChrystal, who took command of U.S. and NATO forces in June, wants lots more troops.

The politically unpalatable news comes at the end of the bloodiest month in the bloodiest year since 2001 for U.S. and other foreign forces battling a resurgent Taliban, and on the same day the United Nations grimly warned that civilian casualties among war-weary Afghans soared this year. More