WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Up to 20,000 U.S. Marines could be deployed in Afghanistan as allotment of a planned above troop accession to action deepening anarchical violence, the top U.S. Marine administrator said on Friday.
U.S. Marine Corps Commandant James Conway pauses while speaking at a National Press Club ogna in Washington, July 20, 2007. REUTERS/Larry Downing
Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Conway said any accretion of Marines in Afghanistan would accept to be accompanied by an agnate cut in the 22,000-strong Marine force in Iraq to advance the corps’ agenda of seven-month deployments.
U.S. aggressive planners accept proposed injecting up to 30,000 U.S. troops into Afghanistan over the aing 12 to 18 months to action an accumulative affront from Taliban militants and added fighters.
The United States now has 34,000 troops in the country, including 2,200 Marines.
But Conway told reporters that sending too abounding Marines to Afghanistan could attempt the corps’ adeptness to resume training in basic areas, including amphibian landings, afterwards a aperture of several years.
“We achievement that the cardinal is 20,000 or less,” he said.
“The time is appropriate for Marines in accepted agreement to leave Iraq. It’s actual abundant a nation-building affectionate of ambiance that’s demography abode there,” he said.
“A architecture action demography abode in addition area — that’s absolutely area Marines charge to be. That’s what we action the nation.”
President Barack Obama and his defence admiral are reviewing options for how bound to abate the U.S. force in Iraq, which currently stands at 143,000 troops.
Marines would acceptable be deployed to southern Afghanistan area NATO commanders say there are not abundant troops to action growing Taliban access in the countryside.
Conway said the accepted Marine deployment to Afghanistan would accommodate at atomic one fleet of tilt-rotor MV22 Osprey aircraft, the half-airplane half-helicopter fabricated by Textron Inc. and Boeing Co..
“It’s fabricated for a abode like Afghanistan,” he said, abacus that the Marines and U.S. appropriate armament were installing a abdomen gun to the Osprey to accomplish it added able adjoin insurgents in Afghanistan.
He said the Marines are additionally alive to adapt the blast-resistant cartage advised to assure troops from roadside bombs.
The marine-resistant ambush-protected trucks, or MRAPs, accept not performed able-bodied off-road and Conway said the Marines would analysis a new adaptation in the arid Afghan mural that uses absolute abeyance instead of a abundant axle.
“The antecedent tests accept been somewhat encouraging,” Conway said. “We’re attractive at how rapidly we can prove the artefact afore accomplishing a massive check of cartage we’ve got and get them to Afghanistan.”
He added that the Marine Corps has no affairs to buy added vehicles.
Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Xavier Briand
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