War Story

Doubling Down on Afghanistan

President Obama took a break from domestic issues yesterday to announce his first major foreign policy initiative: He will send 17,000 new troops to Afghanistan, increasing by almost 50 percent the 36,000 troops already there. In a written statement, Obama said the move was “necessary to stabilize a deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, which has not received the strategic attention, direction and resources it urgently requires.” The administration is reviewing policy on Afghanistan and could send more troops down the line. In The New York Times, Dexter Filkins offers a sign of how bad things have grown in Afghanistan: “The number of civilians killed in Afghanistan leapt by nearly 40 percent last year, according to a survey released Tuesday by the United Nations, the latest measure of how the intensifying violence between the Taliban and American-led forces is ravaging that country.”