Obama orders more troops for Afghan war

As Vice President Joe Biden applauds, President Barack Obama gets up from the table after signing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2009, during a ceremony at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science in Denver. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
As Vice President Joe Biden applauds, President Barack Obama gets up from the table after signing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2009, during a ceremony at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science in Denver. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

KABUL - Afghan officials yesterday welcomed US President Barack Obama's decision to send 17000 more soldiers to fight a Taliban-led insurgency, but ordinary people feared more troops would mean more attacks.

KABUL - Afghan officials yesterday welcomed US President Barack Obama's decision to send 17000 more soldiers to fight a Taliban-led insurgency, but ordinary people feared more troops would mean more attacks.

In his first major military decision since taking office in January, Obama on Tuesday agreed to the deployment "to stabilise a deteriorating situation" in Afghanistan.

"It's a positive move," Afghan defence ministry spokesman Mohammad Is'haq Payman said.

"But we have our own conditions. We want these troops to be deployed along the border, in eastern, southeastern and southern parts of the country."

Many of the attacks in Afghanistan are carried out by militants, holed up in Pakistan's lawless tribal zones, who infiltrate the porous 2400km, largely mountainous border.

Payman said the US reinforcements would also allow Afghan security forces to concentrate on vital training instead of fighting the insurgency, which started after the Taliban were ousted in 2001.

There are already about 70000 Nato and US-led soldiers in Afghanistan, 38000 of whom are US troops. - Sapa-AFP

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