Afghan Army commandos stand as they wear combat gear during the display of weapons for the media, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2011. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri) By Altaf Qadri
An Afghan Army commando stands in front of weapons on display for the media, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2011. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri) By Altaf Qadri
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Pentagon is sending 1,400 more Marine combat forces to Afghanistan.
Defense Department spokesman Col. Dave Lapan said Thursday the Marines are now being notified and are expected to go within weeks.
Lapan says Defense Secretary Robert Gates approved the additional forces Wednesday in hopes of consolidating gains already made during the troop buildup in Afghanistan and of putting extra pressure on insurgents.
When President Barack Obama a year ago approved the original troop surge of 30,000 forces, he gave Gates leeway to add an extra 10 percent, or 3,000 extra forces, as need arose. Lapan says the additional 1,400 Marines will keep the number within the limit that Obama approved.
Obama plans to begin withdrawing troops from Afghanistan in July.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)