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US Military Chief: More Troops Probably Needed for Afghanistan

The top U.S. military officer says the United States will "probably" need more troops in Afghanistan to win the battle against insurgents.

Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a Senate committee Tuesday that a "properly-resourced counterinsurgency probably means more forces."

He said success in Afghanistan will also require more time and commitment to the development of good governance and more trainers to help rebuild the Afghan army and police.

Mullen said the U.S. mission in Afghanistan has been "badly under-resourced" for about five years and that it is "very clear" that more resources are needed to execute President Barack Obama's new strategy for Afghanistan.

Mullen's assessment came during a Senate Armed Services committee hearing on his nomination for a second term.

President Obama has not yet decided whether to send more troops to Afghanistan, though a specific request is expected from the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, U.S. General Stanley McChrystal.

Mullen said he does not know exactly what General McChrystal will ask for, but that he expects the request to come soon.  The general submitted an assessment on the Afghan war to U.S. and NATO officials last month. He said the U.S. and its allies will need to change strategy and boost cooperation to turn the conflict around. The report did not include specific requests for more troops.

The United States is already in the process of ramping up its troop presence in Afghanistan to 68,000 by the end of the year to fight the growing Taliban insurgency.

Mullen said he believes U.S. troops now make up the best counterinsurgency force in the world after fighting against al-Qaida in Iraq.  He said the U.S. military must take what it learned in Iraq and apply that knowledge to Afghanistan.

Mullen said there is no question that the security situation in Iraq has improved. He said Iraqi forces are better able to protect their own people and the U.S. is now in a position to continue drawing down its own forces.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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