3K Marines may be Afghanistan bound

Jan. 9, 2008 at 11:49 PM

WASHINGTON, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- The United States might send an additional 3,000 Marines to Afghanistan to reinforce the NATO force trying to contain and mop up Taliban insurgents there.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates is expected to take up the request beginning Friday, Navytimes.com reported Wednesday. Gates' press secretary, Geoff Morrell, said the secretary is not expected to reach a decision hastily, the Web site reported.

"It is highly unlikely that he will approve this on the spot," Morrell told Navytimes.com. "He has more thinking to do on this matter. It's a serious commitment of additional troops. And he wants to discuss it with some additional people."

There are now about 41,700 NATO troops in Afghanistan, including 14,000 from the United States, working to enhance the efforts by the Afghan army and police. There also is the U.S.-led Combined Joint Task Force 82, comprised of 12,000 U.S. and 1,200 other coalition troops, concentrating on eliminating anti-government extremists, Navytimes.com said.

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