US President Barack Obama has quietly deployed 13,000 more troops to Afghanistan, an unannounced move separate from the request by his commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, for reinforcements. The US had already said it would raise the number of troops there by 21,000 by the end of the year. But some 13,000 engineers, medical staff, intelligence officers and military police, as well as 3,000 explosives specialists to combat the growing fatality rates from roadside bombs, are being deployed as well. In addition, McChrystal has requested an extra 40,000 troops to prevent the country falling into the hands of the Taliban, generating a full-scale debate in Washington. Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai weighed in as well, telling American TV audiences that “I'm fully behind him for what he's seeking in this report.” Meanwhile, in Iraq, US military spokesmen said the total of US troops in Iraq will be down to 120,000 by the end of October, but further large-scale reductions will have to wait until after Iraqi elections in January.
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