Troops to be in Afghanistan for a while

Oct. 21, 2008 at 6:43 PM

WASHINGTON, Oct. 21 (UPI) -- The U.S. Air Force chief of staff was in Southwest Asia Monday and said it was likely U.S. forces would be in the region for some time.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz traveled on his first official visit to the U.S. Central Command area of operations Monday. Schwartz said that with the surge in violence led by the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan, he expects U.S. forces to remain deployed in the region until conditions change, the Air Force reported.

Schwartz, who also addressed concerns over a tightening of Air Force budgets affecting force capability and assets, said that with security conditions improving in Iraq, it is likely that U.S. forces will begin transitioning to Afghanistan to help counter the Taliban.

"It is clear there will be an increase in presence in Afghanistan," Schwartz said in a statement.

"So I do not see an overall reduction in the level of effort for the time being. Some of this is simply going to shift theaters from Iraq to Afghanistan until we contain the Taliban insurgency."

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