WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama plans to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan, on an accelerated timetable that would dispatch several hundred Marines by Christmas.
That's what a senior administration official says, in a preview of the president's speech to the nation tonight. The official says the additional troops would be deployed over the next six months, with the full complement expected by summer.
That pace would appear to match the 2007 troop surge in Iraq, which rushed 20,000 combat forces to quell violence there. The new infusion of troops had originally been seen as taking place over a year or more.
The official says Obama will also lay out a rough timeframe and some dates for ending the main U.S. military mission. Meanwhile, NATO diplomats say Obama is asking European members of the alliance to contribute between 5,000 and 10,000 new troops to the international force in Afghanistan.