Chicago Sun-Times
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Obama to announce 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan

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WASHINGTON--President Obama on Tuesday night will announce that he will send 30,000 more soldiers to Afghanistan this summer--but with a focused mission and a goal of getting the soldiers out of the country where 9-11 terrorists trained starting in July, 2011. How long a pull-out will take will be determined by conditions on the ground.

Speaking from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point tonight, Obama will tell the nation why he wants an Afghanistan troop surge and his plans for trying to bolster Afghanistan police and security forces. An initial exit date will not give Al Queda an incentive to wait out the Americans, an administration source said in a briefing Tuesday afternoon in advance of the speech.

"If the Taliban think they can wait us out, I think they are misjudging the president's approach," the official said. By setting when a conditions based process to withdraw starts--but not end-- "puts everyone... under pressure to do more sooner."

Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.), a West Point graduate and a member of the academy's board of advisors was invited to West Point tonight to hear Obama's speech about this deployment plans.

Part of the plan will be to bolster the Afghanistan economy.

The top development priority will be agriculture because that "offers the best promise for quickiest results."

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on December 1, 2009 3:32 PM.

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