March 27th, 2009
09:29 AM ET
14 years ago

Obama to send 4,000 more troops to Afghanistan, officials say

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption=" President Obama is expected to announce new strategies for Afghanistan and Pakistan on Friday."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Obama plans to send another 4,000 troops to Afghanistan along with hundreds of civilian specialists in an effort to confront what he considers "the central challenge facing [that] country," senior administration officials said Thursday.

The president also will call on Congress to pass a bill that triples U.S. aid to Pakistan to $1.5 billion a year over five years, the officials said.

Obama is expected to announce new strategies for both countries Friday.

The troops, which are in addition to the 17,000 the president announced earlier would be sent to Afghanistan, will be charged with training and building the Afghan army and police force. The plans include doubling the army's ranks to 135,000 and the police force to 80,000 by 2011, the officials said.

Listen: CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser discusses the politics of the president's new plan with CNN Radio's Bill Caiaccio

Full story

Filed under: Afghanistan
soundoff (50 Responses)
  1. Eric in Texas

    ran March 27th, 2009 9:51 am ET

    Finally doing what should have been done instead of going to Iraq.This war could have been over with if our leaders were to have done what President Obama is doing now.


    If we had went to war in Afghanistan initially all of the terrorists would have taken refuge in Iraq under the Hussein regime. They would have been hailed as heroes by him. So six one half dozen or another, you still would have had to invade Iraq. We should have been back in Iraq in 1993. According to the cease fire with Iraq after Gulf War I Saddam Hussein had to allow weapons inspectors in at any time. if he did not he would be forceably removed from power. That never happened because the United Nations was making a fortune both legally and under the table (Annan's son ran the oil for food program and was proven to have taken bribes and kickbacks) and they weren't pulling that cow from the field. The Clinton Administration would never go against the UN and that is why the issue was never pushed.

    Bush invaded Iraq and we saw the capture and execution of one of the world's most heinous criminals. The country was for the war when it started but as usual Americans expect a microwave meal. Get us in and out in 1 year and nobody dies. That isn't practical. And all of you people who have never served one day for your country and sit here being arm chair military commanders are idiots. Leave this up to the people who know what they are doing. Obama is doing nothing different than Bush in terms of war. We are simply moving theaters.

    March 27, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  2. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Another 1.5 billion---if they don't want to help themselves then what is the point?--democracy has to occur "within"-–you can't import it nor can you buy it.

    March 27, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  3. Eric in Texas

    Brad, WA March 27th, 2009 10:13 am ET

    This is smart but will piss off a lot of independants and republicans. But as a loyal democrat, I must admit spending is almost as bad as Bush. But we are spending on good things rather than spending just because we can like republicans always do.

    By every calculation, prior to this new money, Obama's deficit would be triple that of Bush.

    March 27, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  4. Fair is Fair

    @ Vietnam Veteran,

    You, my friend, are a patriot and a hero.

    Please know that there are millions and millions of Americans who owe a debt of gratitude to you. I am humbled to be in that group.

    March 27, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  5. Sniffit

    @ Digger, who asked "You people keep stating you want Bush charged so why not obama?"

    Inane. Obama is not lying to start a war in the wrong country, he's cleaning up a mess left by Bush, who did lie to start a war in teh wrong country, thereby leaving the war in the correct country to flounder. Obama is not wire-tapping the American public. Obama is not going to torture prisoners, nor does he intend to hold them indefinitely without representation or a trial solely because they are SUSPECTED of being terrorists. You people trying to make it seem like Obama is doing nothing different than what Bush did are completely and utterly ridiculous and nobody with half a brain in their head will believe your talking points...I tend to doubt that you even believe them they're so insipid.

    March 27, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  6. Sniffit

    @ John in LA, who said "Concentrate on ONE thing-the ECONOMY-and stop trying to prove to your BOTS that you can multi-task-a very OVER USED word these days!"

    That's simply not realistic. He cannot focus solely on the economy and leave Afghanistan alone until we have fully recovered from this recession. We watched Bush pull that tunnel-vision crap for 8 years and it landed us in the messes we're in right now. You seek succor in your denial tho...whatever helps you sleep at night.

    March 27, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  7. Simmy

    I was hoping that we could end Iraq, concentrate all our efforts to find Bin Laden, then get out of the region. The reason we went there originally was to seek and destroy Bin Laden. That didn't happen, so we toppled Sadam Hussein, who had nothing to do with the reason we went to war. Now, I feel that it's quagmire, and will end without resolution. It's the perfect time for President Obama to put his signature on the results. He is listening to the commanders in the region and Sec. Gates, but he has to bear in mind that these are people whose careers and lives breathe military/war. Sometimes it's not the way you win, but how you end. This is that time, I believe.
    But be that as if may, I still stand by my man, President Obama.

    March 27, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  8. Steve

    It does not matter if you are blue or red the pols don't care if you are dead.
    Not a bit of difference between 43 and 44. They take their marching orders from the MIC.

    Eisenhower warned the American People in 1959. Nothing has changed and nothing will.

    Not smart , not engaging just the way it is.

    Let's see since 1959: Vietnam........etc,etc.

    Has there been one year since that warning when a gun was not fired somewhere in the world by an American soldier?

    March 27, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  9. Sue

    People on word. If you were the Presdent and had troops over there fightin for what? How would you handle this situation. Everyone is done on this President, but I think he has done his homework and cal actually fix this mess. We are all judging him before we know if this will work. Train someone to take care of their own mess is what I thought the President said and we will come out at a certain amounty of time. People let's see the timeline it takes to train and get out instead of saying you are wrong. At least the President has a solid plan instead of Bush let's go and then we will see how it works.

    March 27, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  10. notagain

    this is change! take our troops out of Iraq and put them into afganistan. did congress authorize this or is this Bush's fault also?

    March 27, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  11. Dan, TX

    Eric in Texas == I can't understand what you are saying, it makes no sense at all.

    Vietnam vet is right. We need to either have military of NATO, EU, CHINA, RUSSIA, United Nations, in there helping us or get out. If it is important for world safety, then the world needs to be doing it, not the USA.

    March 27, 2009 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  12. Mike in Fairfax

    Why is it that if I strive to buy a home at auction, and I win that bid, I'm the winner and I get what I bought. If the home turns out to be full of problems, that's my mistake and I need to fix it. Yet, if someone runs for President of the United States of America, knowing full well what he is trying to do, he "inherited" all the problems and issues that go with it. Give me a break! Obama wanted this mess. He felt he was the best man to fix it. It's about time he quit constantly laying blame and whining about what he "inherited". You inherit something that is given or left to you, not something you seek out. He didn't inherit this mess, he asked for it and got it.

    March 27, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  13. obama-mama

    @John from LA – This was the hand he was dealt. He didn't start this war but unfortunately he has to finish it. I will say that until the war is over.

    March 27, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  14. Typical White Person

    @ Sniffit March 27th, 2009 10:24 am ET

    @ Typical White Person, who asked "Now where are all the liberals who were demanding we stop spending money on the Middle East when Bush was in office…"

    YOu can mischaracterize our criticism of Bush all you want pal. We didn't want to be spending the money in IRAQ, because we knew that we should've been focusing solely on AFGHANISTAN.


    Let's see. Back in 2002 we had a war going on in Afghanistan which everyone supported. Now, just down the street, so to speak, is this country called Iraq that has a dictator who keeps insisting publically that he destroyed all his WMDs while denying the inspectors access to the sites to confirm or deny the public grandstanding. Terrorists are flowing all around the region with no one stopping them at the borders to see if they have weapons: biological, chemical, explosive, whatever.

    Given the information we had at the time, the worst case scenario would have been this: Iraq supplies chemical and/or biological weapons to terrorists who then take them back to Afghanistan and use them on our soldiers.

    You can argue with 20/20 hindsight that no WMDs were found, but when you have a guy playing the shell game with something as critical as that you have to err on the side of caution. Focusing solely on Afghanistan would have been working with blinders and not taking a regional approach to protecting our soldiers.

    All Sadam had to do to avert the Iraq war was to let the inspectors into the sites to verify instead of playing hide and seek with those mysterious trucks. Period.

    March 27, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  15. Fair is Fair

    @ Mike in Fairfax,

    Well said!

    I've been trying to point the same thing out, but for some reason the CNN "moderators" keep deleting my opinion.

    March 27, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  16. Big Ed

    President Obama has a sticky situation. He inherited these wars that he did not start and Bush did not end. If he pulls all troops out, Obama is accused of "cut and run". If he adds more troops it is an "escalation". Well, what do you think the surge was? Nothing more than an escalation with a $5.00 name on it!

    What can we do? It looks like stabalize the best we can then bring our troops home. We won't win there. These people have been fighting since the dawn of time. The Afghan rebels sent the Soviets home without a victory in the 1980's.

    March 27, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  17. Mari

    @ Vietnam Vet........... First, thank you for your service. I agree Iraq & Afghanistan are another.......... V-i-e-t-n-a-m.

    Any suggestions on how to deal with the TWO wars??

    I am dismayed this morning, what is the solution? Do we get out of Afghanistan? Allow the Taliban to take control again?

    Perhaps what WE THE PEOPLE ought to do is start writing to the White House and.........PROTESTING IN THE STREETS .........AND SHOUTING BRING OUR TROOPS HOME!


    March 27, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  18. drh49

    Stop giving away money we do not have.
    Is that going to be all you know how to do is give away money?
    How about take care of the needs in our country first.
    Why don't you stop campainging for 2012 and get down to some real work.
    You were not elected to be a world traveler or a PR person.
    Take this job serious before we loose this country

    March 27, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  19. Kent in CA

    Americans once again demonstrate a complete lack of history, both long term and short term.

    #9 Shooky: This is not Obama 'standing corrected'. This is exactly what he said he would do in the second debate with McCain. Did you listen to the debate? Have you forgotten his commitment to scale down Iraq and scale up Afghanistan? It was only five months ago.

    #11 Vietnam Vet: Hannibal in Afghanistan? Is that when he crossed the Alps? That's a good chuckle. You may want to know that under the Kublai Khan in the 13th century, Afghanistan was a land of total religous freedom and free of crime. A woman could walk alone the entire length of the silk road without fear. But Hannibal never got within 2000 miles of the place.

    March 27, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  20. Mike in Fairfax

    Thanks Fair is Fair. It just drives me a bit nuts when everyone keeps saying that.

    March 27, 2009 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  21. Ghost

    Umm, Bush offered us about 3 different reasons for going into Iraq. It wasn't about Saddam until they couldn't find a terrorist or a WMD. that is why people wanted Bush arrested.

    Bush spent a few billion a day in Iraq, only to find out that no bid contracts went to Haliburton and the like. And our troops weren't getting the facilities or the equipment needed. Is that not a travesty?

    Look, you can defend you hero at the sake of Obama all you like, but you can't dispute the facts. At best, you can do your usual, which is bend them, distort them, hell out right ignore them.

    March 27, 2009 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  22. An American

    If Busch sent 4000 troops to Afgahnistan you people would still be talking about it. Take our men and women out of Iraq and send them to Afgahnistan – what a plan that is!!! Oh yes, and here comes the fear tatic – that is how Obama gets his way. Scare the hell out of everybody and they will cave. I support our men and women in the military no matter where they are – I do NOT support Obama's policies. Send our troops home and let them protect us right HERE IN AMERICA. The people that want to harm us are right here – 911 told us that. Four more years of this and we will be ruined.

    March 27, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  23. david

    isn't this strategy like, sort of, that employed with the vietnam war? surely, there are lessons learned from the vietnam war and our loss as we evacuated (retreated) dramatically from south vietnam as the north vietnamese poured into south vietnam.

    March 27, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  24. Ghost

    Mike, what part of inherited don't you get? At this point, it is his mess to clean up. If he fails to do so, it will be his fault. Same as the economy. But make no mistake as to when it started, who started it or why it was started. I'll take a smart man with good intentions over an idiot with questionable intentions all day.

    March 27, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  25. mark

    Iraq has a better chance at becoming a civilized nation than Afghanistan.!

    March 27, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
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