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ARLINGTON, Va. — The Defense Department has identified the additional forces headed to Afghanistan beginning this fall.

A Marine Air-Ground Task Force with about 2,000 Marines will deploy to Afghanistan in November, followed in January by 3,700 soldiers from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division from Fort Drum, N.Y., the DOD announced Monday.

The Marine task force will include the 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, based out of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, as well as air, logistics and headquarters elements, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters Monday.

The task force will replace the 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines, which has grown from about 1,000 to 1,500 Marines during its deployment, a Defense official said.

The decision to replace the battalion with a larger task force reflects the experience of the experience of 2/7, which realized it needed more capabilities, such as route clearance, the official said.

President Bush announced last week that about 8,000 troops would be withdrawn from Iraq by early next year, while more troops will be headed to Afghanistan.

But the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan will drop from November until January because the 2,400 Marines with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit are not being replaced after they leave, the official said.

Recently, Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, conceded that the U.S. military is not winning in Afghanistan.

The extra troops going to Afghanistan will not meet the request for three extra brigade combat teams there, but Mullen called the move "a good and important start" in front of Congress last week. "Frankly, I judge the risk of not sending them too great a risk to ignore."


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