United States Army Chief of Staff General George Casey said Sunday that he believes more troops are needed in Afghanistan to continue fighting the war against resurgent Taliban forces.
In a television interview with NBC's David Gregory on Meet the Press, Casey said he believed additional forces are necessary to curtail the Taliban's advances in the outlying regions of the nation, as well as to continue the training of new Afghan security forces. Casey did not provide an estimate as to how many troops would be needed to complete the mission, nor how much longer before American troops could begin redeployment operations to return home.
"I believe that we need to put additional forces into Afghanistan to give General McChrystal the ability to both dampen the successes of the Taliban while we train the Afghan civilian forces," he said.
Appearing later on CNN's State of the Union, Casey told host Wolf Blitzer that "the Army remains out of balance. But we started in 2007 with a program to get ourselves back in balance by 2011. And since 2007, we have added 40,000 soldiers to the active force, which is a significant step forward."
President Barack Obama continues to deliberate with advisors on whether or not to deploy an additional 40,000 troops to Afghanistan, as requested by General Stanley McChrystal, the current commander of US and NATO forces in the region.
October 7th marked the 8-year anniversary of the beginning of US-led operations in Afghanistan. To date, nearly 6,500 Coalition and Afghan security forces (combined) have been killed, including 916 American soldiers.