McCain Will Call for a Surge of Troops to Afghanistan
WASHINGTON — Senator McCain will announce plans today for an Iraq-style “surge” of troops in Afghanistan.
An adviser to the campaign told The New York Sun that, in a speech to be delivered in Albuquerque, N.M., the senator will call for an increase in combat troops and the creation of a special Afghanistan tsar to coordinate policy toward the country. “There will be a surge for Afghanistan. It will be moving combat troops in and applying the lessons from Iraq and the strategy that was successful in Iraq and taking that to Afghanistan,” this official said.
Mr. McCain has been reluctant to discuss in public what he would do with Afghanistan’s neighbor, Pakistan, where reserve Taliban fighters in the tens of thousands are said to reside unmolested in safe havens created after the Pakistani national army stopped fighting a counterinsurgency in these tribal areas. Mr. McCain has said he will not telegraph what his strategy would be as commander in chief toward this sensitive diplomatic and military problem.
Senator Obama has since August 2007 called for the deployment of at least two additional brigades to Afghanistan and has said he will work to cajole the Pakistani military into fighting again.
Mr. Obama’s Afghanistan policy was referenced in an op-ed piece by Mr. Obama in the New York Times that reiterated the Democrat’s pledge to begin the withdrawal of all combat troops from Iraq within 16 months of taking office. Mr. Obama appeared to be moving away from that stance earlier this month when he announced he would be visiting Iraq to meet with military commanders there, and would be refining his earlier position based on their input.