WASHINGTON – US President Barack Obama has already ordered his new Afghan strategy implemented and is informing the leaders of Russia, Britain and France of his plans, a White House spokesman said Monday.
Obama told top security aides and generals of his final decision and issued orders to implement it Sunday, ahead of unveiling it to the US public in an address on Tuesday, said spokesman Robert Gibbs.
The US president was also contacting Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy to communicate his strategy aims, Gibbs told reporters.
Obama is set to make the boldest strategic move of his presidency Tuesday and order a surge of tens of thousands more US troops into an increasingly unpopular war in Afghanistan.
In front of cadets at the prestigious West Point military academy, Obama is expected to announce between 30,000 and 35,000 reinforcements as part of a new Afghan strategy intended in his own words to “finish the job” there.
More than eight years after a US-led invasion ousted the Taliban regime after it refused to hand over Osama Bin Laden and other Al-Qaeda leaders accused of plotting the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001, the president is also under pressure to lay out an exit strategy in his 8 P.M (0100 GMT Wednesday) address to the American nation.
Many doubt the wisdom of escalating the conflict, with increasing numbers of troops being deployed as casualty rates soar, amid inevitable comparisons to the Vietnam War that ultimately doomed Lyndon Johnson’s presidency.
There were 35,000 American soldiers fighting the Taliban-led insurgency when Obama became president. After an initial boost in February there are now about 68,000. Tuesday’s announcement could see troop levels triple under his tenure.
“You have to learn lessons from history. On the other hand, each historical moment is different. You never step into the same river twice. And so Afghanistan is not Vietnam,” Obama said in September. – AFP