US to deploy new forces south of Kabul

December 7, 2008 12:00 am

, WASHINGTON, Dec 7 – The United States will deploy most of its forces arriving in Afghanistan next year on the southern approaches to Kabul to prevent the Afghan capital from falling into rebel hands, The New York Times has reported on its website.

Citing unnamed US military commanders, the newspaper said on Saturday the decision reflects the rising concerns among military officers, diplomats and government officials about the increasing vulnerability of the capital and the surrounding area.

The United States is expected to send more than 20,000 additional troops to Afghanistan in response to a request from General David McKiernan, the top commander in Afghanistan. Most of these forces will be diverted from Iraq.

While the provinces of Wardak and Logar had been relatively secure until late last year, insurgents have stepped up their attacks there and sometimes even control parts of major roads connecting Kabul to the east and south, the paper said.

The number of attacks in Wardak by the Taliban and other insurgent groups has increased about 58 percent since last year and in Logar about 41 percent, The Times said, citing statistics collected by Sami Kovanen, a security analyst in Kabul.

Insurgents now have significant influence, if not control, in much of the two provinces, according to Kovanen, the report said.

These developments mean the newly arriving US troops will not be deployed along the US-Pakistani border and tasked with the goal of curbing the cross-border flow of insurgents.


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