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U.S. Signals Continued Commitment to Afghanistan

In recent weeks the U.S. Congress, senior government officials and the presidential candidates have re-emphasized the U.S. commitment to Afghanistan through a sustained military presence and increased financial assistance to the country.

In a recently approved $162 billion supplemental funding bill for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Congress approved $62 million for a new ammunition storage facility at Bagram Air Force Base on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan. Additionally, Congress approved $41 million for a new power-generating facility at the airfield which Admiral William Fallon described as "the centerpiece for the CENTCOM Master Plan for future access to and operations in Central Asia." Both measures, which are part of a larger bill that includes $3 billion for Afghan security forces, signal the continuing U.S. commitment to Afghanistan.

Both of America’s primary presidential candidates have discussed deploying additional troops to help in the security and reconstruction process of Afghanistan. In recent speeches, both Senator Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.), the presumptive nominees for their parties, pledged to increase troop numbers and allocate additional resources to Afghanistan in the coming years.

In a speech on July 15, Sen. Obama stated, "I will send at least two additional combat brigades to Afghanistan, and use this commitment to seek greater contributions – with fewer restrictions – from NATO allies. I will focus on training Afghan security forces and supporting an Afghan judiciary, with more resources and incentives for American officers who perform these missions." On the same day, Sen. McCain pledged to send three additional brigades to Afghanistan and increase non-military assistance.

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