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US Sending More Troops to Afghanistan

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates says the Pentagon aims to send thousands of additional troops to Afghanistan early next year.

Gates spoke on Thursday after meeting with the commander of U.S. and NATO forces at a military base in the southern Afghan province of Kandahar.

U.S. General David McKiernan has requested at least four more brigades, or roughly 20,000 troops, to join the 32,000 troops already there, along with nearly as many from other NATO countries.

One of the brigades is scheduled to arrive in January. Gates says the military hopes to send at least two more brigades later, and he reiterated his call for NATO allies to provide more support in Afghanistan.

McKiernan said it will take another three to four years to build up the Afghan army and police enough so that they can operate more independently.

The additional U.S. forces will likely be deployed in southern Afghanistan, where the Taliban insurgency is most active and violence has spiked.

On Thursday, the Pentagon released data showing the number of roadside bombs used in Afghanistan more than doubled between April and October of this year, with more than 250 per month since this spring. The trend differs from Iraq, where the use of roadside bombs fell sharply in the same time period.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.