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Afghan army may get bigger

From the Associated Press

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has endorsed a proposal to increase the size of Afghanistan’s army by more than 50,000 members and is poised to give Army Gen. David D. McKiernan broader control over U.S. forces in that country.

The Afghan army increase, to about 122,000 troops, would cost well over $10 billion and has no financing.

McKiernan commands the NATO-led coalition in Afghanistan, which includes about 15,000 U.S. troops. Under the proposal, McKiernan also would control additional U.S. forces who are training the Afghan army and police.

There are about 33,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, the highest since the war began.

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All told, the five-year plan could cost $20 billion, said the New York Times, which first reported the proposal.


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