By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
July 19, 2007 – The United States will work to deploy an additional brigade of U.S. forces into Afghanistan to accelerate training of Afghan troops, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said here today. The timing of the deployment will depend on other operational requirements for U.S. troops worldwide, Marine Gen. Peter Pace said.
"We know that we need about another 3,000 troops to accelerate the training of the Afghan army the way they would like to be accelerated," Pace said during a short interview following an all-hands meeting here, in the Regional Command East area of operations.
During meetings in Kabul yesterday, Afghan officials, including Afghan Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak told Pace they would like to speed up training of their army so their forces could take over more of the security mission in the country.
Taking over their own security "is a very healthy desire on the part of the Afghans," Pace said.
However, he added, it may take a while. The U.S. military has units deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan and other troop commitments around the world. Those commitments won't allow the United States to plus-up forces in Afghanistan right now, Pace said. "But we know it's the right thing to do, and we're going to work our way through finding the resources to be able to do that," he said.
The chairman said the additional training brigade would embed with Afghan units. "It would really help them in their training pipeline," Pace said. "We are going to see an increase in troop strength in Afghanistan to help the Afghan army before you see a decrease."