Gates sending 1,400 more Marines to Afghanistan

Extra troops will supplement the 30,000 already in the country

By Pauline Jelinek
Published January 6, 2011 6:34PM (UTC)
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In this Sept. 2, 2010 photo, a U.S. Marine, left, and U.S. Amy Flight Medic Staff Sgt. Richard Jarrett, right, rush U.S. Marine Pfc. Justin Turner, center, of Flower Mound, Texas, who was wounded in an IED attack, across an irrigated field deep with mud to a waiting U.S. Army Task Force Shadow medevac helicopter, west of Lashkar Gah, in southern Afghanistan. Aeromedical teams with the 101st Airborne's Task Force Destiny provide the fast medical evacuation of those wounded throughout southern Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley) (AP)

The Pentagon is sending 1,400 more Marine combat forces to Afghanistan.

Defense Department spokesman Col. Dave Lapan said Thursday the Marines are now being notified and are expected to go within weeks.

Lapan says Defense Secretary Robert Gates approved the additional forces Wednesday in hopes of consolidating gains already made during the troop buildup in Afghanistan and of putting extra pressure on insurgents.

When President Barack Obama a year ago approved the original troop surge of 30,000 forces, he gave Gates leeway to add an extra 10 percent , or 3,000 extra forces, as need arose. Lapan says the additional 1,400 Marines will keep the number within the limit that Obama approved.

Obama plans to begin withdrawing troops from Afghanistan in July.

Pauline Jelinek

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