U.S. President George Bush says he is sending more forces to Afghanistan while
withdrawing about eight thousand troops from Iraq.
Mr. Bush Tuesday told
military commanders at the National Defense University in Washington that the
troops leaving Iraq will do so by next February. After all deployments in
Afghanistan there will be a net gain of about 15 hundred troops.
president says he is able to withdraw troops from Iraq because of the dramatic
drop in violence there. But he said that even with the withdrawal, there will be
slightly more American forces in Iraq than before the surge in military
He says the forces leaving will include a Marine battalion
from Anbar province (comprising 15-hundred people), an Army combat
brigade (or about 35-hundred to five thousand troops) as well as more
than three thousand aviation personnel, construction engineers and military
In November, a Marine battalion that was scheduled to go to Iraq
will instead be deployed to Afghanistan. An army combat brigade will follow in
Mr. Bush says that as al-Qaida faces
increased pressure in Iraq, terrorists are stepping up efforts in Afghanistan.
He says Afghanistan's success is critical to the security of the United States
and its partners in the free world.
The president has also pledged
support for Pakistan's struggle against Taliban and al-Qaida forces operating
along the border with Afghanistan. He said the terrorists pose a "mortal threat"
to Pakistan and that Islamabad must keep the country from turning into "a safe
haven" for extremists.
The United States has 146-thousand troops in Iraq
and about 34-thousand in Afghanistan.