Pentagon will extend the U.S. troop buildup in Afghanistan well

Friday, February 9th 2007, 10:37 pm
By: News On 6

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany (AP) A U.S. military official says the Pentagon plans to extend its buildup of combat troops in Afghanistan well into next year.

The move comes as U.S. and allied commanders anticipate a renewed offensive this spring by the Taliban.

The decision also means that American troop levels, with the arrival of a brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division, will remain roughly the same into 2008 rather than returning to about 22 or 23,000. The increase in the U.S. force comes as NATO's new top commander is seeking as many as 2,000 extra combat troops for the Afghanistan mission, plus about 800 more from the British.

The decision is expected to be announced in Washington as early as next week.