August 22, 2009
More troops for Afghanistan?, By Glenn Thrush, Politico, August 20, 2009
As Afghanistan holds its presidential election today, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) received a "chilling assessment" of the country's security from General Stanley McChrystal, whom she believes will soon ask President Barack Obama to send more troops to the war-torn country.
"He begins with his chilling assessment that the situation in Afghanistan 'is serious and deteriorating,'" Collins writes in a blog entry after an official trip to the country with Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).
The Maine centrist said there was a "great deal of discussion" on whether to send more troops to the country, and McChrystal, who is in charge of U.S. forces in the country, will report his recommendations to Obama in September.
"It seems, however, pretty clear to me that he will be asking for more troops although he does not say that since he won't preempt his report to the President," Collins said. "I have enormous respect for General McChrystal but remain troubled by the prospect of deploying more troops."
Regarding today's elections, Collins said the Taliban in some villages is threatening "to cut off the ink-stained fingers of anyone who votes. Security is so lacking in some areas that the elections commission is not even setting up voting booths, requiring Afghans to travel some distance if they wish to vote. Fraud is also likely to be a problem."
She adds that since there is a widespread perception in the country that the U.S. is backing Hamid Karzai the delegation decides not to meet with the president.
— Manu Raju
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