WASHINGTON: The top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan said Wednesday that he needed more troops and other aid "as quickly as possible" in a counterinsurgency battle that could get worse before it gets better.
The commander, General David McKiernan, said it would take more than adding troops to stabilize Afghanistan, including efforts to strengthen the government, improve the economy and build its military and police forces.
Speaking to Pentagon reporters, McKiernan, the head of NATO forces in Afghanistan, said there had been a significant increase in foreign fighters coming in from neighboring Pakistan this year, including Chechens, Uzbeks, Saudis and Europeans.
And he said he needed the more than 10,000 additional forces he has requested, in part, to increase his military campaigns in the south and east, where violence has escalated.
"The additional military capabilities that have been asked for are needed as quickly as possible," he said, adding that he was hoping to get units that would be able to both fight the insurgents and serve as trainers for the Afghan National Army and the police.