Reporting from Marine Headquarters At Al Asad, Iraq -- Marine Corps leaders are devising a plan to send thousands of additional combat troops to Afghanistan to wage aggressive warfare against the Taliban that they expect could take years.
The Marines would like to deploy more than 15,000 troops if Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, newly named head of the U.S. Central Command, approve. About 2,300 Marines have already been sent to Afghanistan to replace units from Twentynine Palms, Calif., and Camp Lejeune, N.C., that are returning home after eight months.
Gates said Friday that he wanted to supplement the more than 30,000 American troops, mostly from the Army, already in Afghanistan. An additional 30,000 troops from other North Atlantic Treaty Organization countries and allies are also stationed in Afghanistan to combat the Taliban and other Islamist insurgent forces.