Commanders want more MRAPs for Afghanistan
July 17, 2008
ARLINGTON, Va. — The commander of U.S. troops in eastern Afghanistan has asked for more Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles.
CNN first reported Monday that commanders in Afghanistan wanted more of the vehicles, which have V-shaped hulls designed to deflect blasts from underneath and have proven to withstand blasts from roadside bombs better than up-armored Humvees.
Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Schloesser made the request to Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, while Mullen was visiting Afghanistan, Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said Wednesday.
Morrell didn’t have the exact number, but he said the request would roughly double the number of vehicles Schloesser has now.
As of July 1, the Defense Department had delivered 814 MRAP vehicles to all U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
Brig. Gen. Mark Milley, Combined Joint Task Force-101’s deputy commanding general (operations), declined to say how many MRAP vehicles had been requested.
"However, the bottom line is the MRAP is a great vehicle, has saved lots of lives, and we think more is better," Milley said in a Wednesday e-mail.
The request did not come as a result of an increase in violence in Afghanistan, said Lt. Col. Rumi Nielson-Green, a spokeswoman for Combined Joint Task Force-101.
"The request is from the commander’s determination that he wants the best protection available for his troops," Nielson-Green said in a Tuesday e-mail. "We’ve been in place for four months; this is simply his requirement as he has had an opportunity to examine the authorizations against requirements."
CNN reported on its Web site Monday that MRAPs headed to Iraq could be diverted to Afghanistan to meet this request.
Maj. Joe Kloppel, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command, said Tuesday that there are no plans currently to move MRAP vehicles from Iraq to Afghanistan. Kloppel did not reply to a follow-up query on whether any MRAP vehicles in the pipeline might end up in Afghanistan instead of Iraq.