US defense secretary to consider more troops for Afghanistan

(Reuters) - Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Wednesday he would consider sending more troops to Afghanistan where U.S. commanders say they expect the Taliban to step up attacks from Pakistani sanctuaries.

Gates, in Afghanistan to ensure commanders have the resources to counter an expected Taliban offensive in the spring, said it was very important the United States and its allies did not let the success achieved in Afghanistan slip away, reports Trend.

Violence in Afghanistan intensified last year to its bloodiest since U.S.-led forces overthrew the Taliban in 2001.

U.S. military commanders said attacks from Pakistan into Afghanistan had surged, several-fold in some areas, and the violence was expected to increase in the spring and summer.

Gates said he had discussed the situation with the commander of Afghanistan's NATO force, General David Richards, and others.

Asked if the commanders had made a case for more troops, he said: "Yes."

"They've indicated what they can do with different force levels," Gates told reporters at the main U.S. base in Afghanistan, at Bagram, north of Kabul, adding he would take the those ideas back to the U.S. joint chiefs of staff for study.

"At that point I'll make a recommendation to the president."

Asked how many more troops might be sent, he said: "It depends on different scenarios and those are the kinds of decisions that we're going to have to look at."

There are more than 40,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan, the highest level since 2001, about 22,000 of them American.

Gates arrived in Afghanistan late on Monday on his first trip to the country since taking over as defense secretary.

The surge of violence last year and fears of more when the weather gets warmer this year have thrown the spotlight on infiltration from Pakistan and Pakistan's efforts to stop it.

Gates said on Tuesday cross-border attacks from Pakistan were increasing.

U.S. military officials in Kabul told reporters command and control of the Afghan insurgency came from the Pakistani side of the border, where Pakistani forces have also been battling militants.

Training, financing, recruitment, indoctrination, regeneration and other support activities were also taking place in Pakistan, a U.S. military intelligence official said.

U.S. intelligence chief John Negroponte said last week it would be necessary to eliminate the Taliban safe havens in Pakistan's tribal areas to end the Afghan insurgency.

Pakistan was the main backer of the Taliban during the 1990s but officially stopped helping the hardline Islamists after the September 11 attacks, when it joined the U.S.-led war on terrorism.

But while Pakistan has arrested or killed hundreds of al Qaeda members, including several major figures, Afghanistan and some of its allies say it has failed to take effective action against Taliban leaders, their networks and sanctuaries.

Despite such doubts about Pakistani efforts, a NATO spokesman said on Wednesday efforts were being made to coordinate operations with Pakistan and the killing of a top Taliban commander in a U.S. air strike last month was an example of that.

The Taliban commander killed in the December 19 air strike in the southern Afghan province of Helmand, Akhtar Mohammad Osmani, was the most senior Taliban leader killed by U.S. forces since 2001. "The Pakistanis shared intelligence with us that led to the successful attack on Osmani," NATO spokesman Brigadier Richard Nugee told a news conference in Kabul.

He did not elaborate but also cited a Pakistani attack on a militant camp in its South Waziristan tribal region on Tuesday as an example of efforts to coordinate with Pakistan.

Gates said Pakistan was "an extraordinarily strong ally" of the United States in the war on terrorism but militancy on the Pakistani side of the border would have to be dealt with.

Weekly actual topics in Azerbaijan (April 16-20)
Weekly actual topics in Azerbaijan (April 16-20)
Weekly tenders in the region (April 16-20)
Weekly tenders in the region (April 16-20)
Last week’s laws, orders and decrees in Azerbaijan (April 16-20)
Last week’s laws, orders and decrees in Azerbaijan (April 16-20)
Loading Bars
Latest
New York early voting starts on Saturday, 1st time in its history
McDonald's urges dismissal of Black former franchisees' discrimination lawsuit
Sudan becomes third Arab state to set aside hostilities with Israel this year
Artillery units, command post of Armenian armed forces destroyed as result of airstrikes (VIDEO)
Jeyhun Bayramov met with assistant to President for US National Security Affairs
Military volunteers, equipment of Armenian Armed Forces destroyed in directions of Khojavend, Fuzuli (VİDEO)
UAVs of Azerbaijan do not conduct flight over territory of Armenia - MoD
Azerbaijan has enough armored vehicles in its arsenal, uses them in operational situations - MoD
Information on alleged artillery shelling of Khankendi and Khojavend districts by Azerbaijan - not true
Chairperson, deputy chairperson of US - Educated Azerbaijani Alumni Association appeal to US Secretary of State
Yerevan not interested in peace, wants to escalate conflict, make it a regional one, says Azerbaijani's First VP
Information spread by Armenian side on Iran's artillery shelling Azerbaijan’s positions - false
Turkey reduces volume of exports of mining industry
Iran discloses value of exports from Tehran Province
Georgia increases import of ground and instant coffee
Japan plans to recruit astronauts in 2021, first time in 13 yrs
Kazakhstan increases exports to Denmark despite COVID-19
Azerbaijani FM talks Karabakh conflict with US Secretary of State
Azerbaijani Bank of Baku's net profit declines multifold
Member of UK’s House of Lords condemns Armenia’s missile attacks on Azerbaijan’s Ganja
Rejection of UN’s unfair statement – another diplomatic victory for Azerbaijani president
Azerbaijani Xalq Bank's income for 9M2020 published
Data on cargo handling from US via Turkish ports for 9M2020 revealed
Azerbaijani soldiers liberate cities, settlements from occupation one after another - First VP
Export of cars from Turkey to Russia down – Trade ministry
Export of cars from Turkey to Turkmenistan drops
Export of cars from Turkey to Tajikistan down
Export of cars from Turkey to Ukraine up – Trade ministry
Armenia attracting mercenaries to occupied territories of Azerbaijan
Targeting Azerbaijani civilians by Armenia - crime, says Uzbek ambassador
Azerbaijani MoD shows footage of liberated Minbashyly village in Jabrayil district (VIDEO)
Cabinet of Ministers bans entry/exit to several Azerbaijani cities and districts
Armenia poses threat to Trans-Caspian International Transport Route
Azerbaijan's Xalq Bank discloses its assets for 9M2020
Payments with foreign cards down in Georgia
Export operations between Azerbaijan and Croatia double
New terminal to be built in Georgia's Poti port
Azerbaijani Prosecutor General's Office gives updates on damages, following Armenia's attacks
Meeting between Azerbaijani FM and US secretary of state held
Kazakhstan's import from Poland down amid COVID-19
ADB supports Georgia in its COVID-19 fight
Azerbaijan, Latvia keen to increase mutual investments (PHOTO)
Russian president's statement on Karabakh generally suits Azerbaijan - deputy parliament speaker
Armenians threatening to kill French TV channel's journalist (PHOTOS)
ISET-PI thnk-tank updates its real GDP growth forecast for Georgia
Azerbaijan's troops liberate villages in Khojavend, Jabrayil, Zangilan districts
Azerbaijan liberates 4 Gubadli district villages from Armenia's occupation
Georgia to allocate funds for marketing of its wine
EAEU reveals volume of food oil exports to Turkmenistan
Secretary General of Organization of Islamic Countries supports Azerbaijan
Georgia to issue agricultural loans to promote primary production of annual crops
Turkmenistan's Turkmennebit opens tender for purchase of pipes
Uzbekistan to maintain positive GDP growth despite difficult economic conditions
Uzbekistan’s National Bank likely to be backed by gov't, Fitch Ratings says
Azerbaijani people trust their president - First VP Mehriban Aliyeva
Percentage share of Austria in Azerbaijan's total import slightly grows
Kazakhstan’s KazMunayGas receives ESG rating in sustainable development
Chairman of US Educated Azerbaijani Alumni Association appeals to US Ambassador in Azerbaijan
Surrendered Armenian officer says Karabakh isn't Armenian land
Armenian armed forces' manpower, armored vehicles destroyed, says Azerbaijani MoD (VIDEO)
Azerbaijan itself doing what Minsk Group didn’t - MP
Inflow of funds to Georgia up
Kazakhstan must invest in agriculture technologies oriented towards Kazakh reality
Israel sends humanitarian aid to Azerbaijan (PHOTO)
Uzbek import of cars from Turkey shrinks
Ballistic missile attacks on Gabala and other Azerbaijani cities - vandalism and fascism of Armenian leadership - People's Artist
Volume of nine-month cargo shipment from Germany via Turkish ports revealed
Iran to implement second phase of ring road around Hormoz Island
Turkmengas to buy geophysical equipment via tender
New buses to start serving passengers in Georgian Tbilisi
Deutsche Bank: Brexit trade costs will be 'material' deal or no deal
Metallurgical products import to Uzbekistan to be reduced via metallurgical plant in Tashkent
Stable basic export rate could help boost Iran's exports
Iran to settle all wheat farmers' claims
WB implements new project in Georgia
President Aliyev holds phone conversation with father of National Hero of Azerbaijan Shukur Hamidov
Iran plans to establish trade centers
New company admitted to Baku Stock Exchange
Shukur Hamidov's name will be immortalized in Gubadli district
Iran reveals its COVID-19 data for October 23
Iran increases number of emergency beds in hospitals
Ambassador welcomes liberation of Azerbaijan's Agbend settlement on border with Iran
Turkey hopes for achieving success in Karabakh conflict settlement together with Russia - Erdogan
Putin's comments were response to those taking anti-Azerbaijani position, analyst says
Kazakhstan's postal service operator to buy petrol via tender
Discussions on Karabakh conflict held at UN Security Council 25 years later - Assistant to Azerbaijani president
Export of cars to Kyrgyzstan spiked - Turkish Ministry of Trade
Turkmenistan increases fruit imports from EAEU countries
It's incorrect to talk about CSTO's help, while conflict taking place in Karabakh - Russian MFA
Azerbaijan confirms 212 more COVID-19 recoveries
No objective benefit for NATO's open support to any party of Karabakh conflict - Russian expert
Georgia reveals total projected harvest of grapes in 2020
Gold, silver prices in Azerbaijan down
Armenia carries out eco-terrorism against Azerbaijan
Georgia names number of beneficiaries received discount cards under agro-diesel promotion program
Captured Armenian soldier admits presence of foreign mercenaries in Armenia (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Azerbaijani media working hard in information space, demonstrating objectivity, accuracy - MP
Daimler lifts profit forecast as China snaps up luxury cars
U.N. says Libya sides reach ceasefire deal
Azerbaijan's CBA to hold deposit auction on Bloomberg platform
All news