The United States is sending 17,000 more troops to Afghanistan. President Barack Obama said in a written statement that the increase was "necessary to stabilize a deteriorating situation in Afghanistan."
He noted that "the Taliban is resurgent in Afghanistan, and al-Qaida supports the insurgence and threatens America from its safe-haven along the Pakistani border." The reinforcement, said President Obama, "will contribute to the security of the Afghan people and to stability in Afghanistan."
The additional troops will arrive during the spring and summer and will bring the total number of American soldiers and Marines in Afghanistan to about 55,000, along with 32,000 non-U.S. NATO forces.
In a press briefing, State Department Acting Deputy spokesman Gordon Duguid said the deployment of additional U.S. troops demonstrates the U.S. commitment to Afghanistan and the Afghan people:
"The additional forces will allow not only us to augment our counter insurgency operations there, but will help us to mentor and train the Afghan national army. And that move is essential for the Afghans to actually take control of their own security which is the ultimate goal."
In a television interview, President Obama emphasized that military action by itself will not be sufficient to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan. "We’re going to have to use diplomacy; we’re going to have to use development," said Mr. Obama. The United States, he said, is in the process of a strategic review of its policy in Afghanistan. "I think Afghanistan is still winnable, in the sense of our ability to ensure that it is not a launching pad for attacks against North America," said President Obama. "I think it’s still possible for us to stamp out al-Qaida to make sure that extremism is not expanding but rather is contracting. I think all those goals are still possible."