President Bush just approved what he's calling an "extraordinary, one-time" deployment of 3,200 additional Marines to Afghanistan. In March, 2,200 marines from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit based at Camp Lejeune, N.C., and 1,000 Marines from the 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, based in Twentynine Palms, Calif., will deploy.
Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said yesterday, "this has been timed to maximize our ability to take on the Taliban should they choose — unwisely, I may add — to attempt a second Spring offensive." The additional marines will bring US presence to 30,000 troops, the most since the US-led 2001 overthrow of the Taliban government. According to Pentagon data, currently about 28,000 non-US foreign troops are also in Afghanistan.