Obama would send 2 more brigades to Afghanistan

“As president, I would pursue a new strategy, and begin by providing at least two additional combat brigades to support our effort in Afghanistan,” Obama said in an op-ed published Monday in The New York Times, a day before he plans a speech here on his vision for Iraq and Afghanistan.

“We need more troops, more helicopters, better intelligence-gathering and more nonmilitary assistance to accomplish the mission there,” Obama said. “I would not hold our military, our resources and our foreign policy hostage to a misguided desire to maintain permanent bases in Iraq.”

Republican presidential candidate John McCain is planning to speak about his plan for Afghanistan Thursday. He told reporters Monday, “I think we need to do whatever is necessary and that could entail more troops.”

U.S. commanders have said they need up to three more brigades in Afghanistan — or as many as 10,000 additional troops — to both train Afghan forces and battle the insurgency. President Bush and Defense Secretary Robert Gates have promised to beef up the U.S. force in Afghanistan next year, but military leaders have made it clear they won’t be able to do that until they can reduce forces in Iraq.