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ARLINGTON, Va. — President Obama is expected to make a decision on sending extra troops to Afghanistan “in the course of the next few days,” said Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Tuesday.

Gates’ comments come after the White House launched another review into the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan.

“I think that there is a realization that some decisions have to be made before the strategic review is completed, only because if he does decide to send at least an additional brigade combat team, even just one, the next one to go would need to be notified pretty quickly,” Gates told reporters.

Gen. David McKiernan, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, has requested four extra brigade combat teams’ worth of troops and an extra combat aviation brigade.

So far, the Defense Department has announced only two of the units meant to fill that request: The 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division and 82nd Airborne Combat Aviation Brigade.

In January, Gates told Congress that the Defense Department plans to send two additional brigade combat teams’ worth of troops in Afghanistan this spring and a third by the end of summer.

But spring is rapidly approaching, as is the fighting season in Afghanistan, and no announcement on the extra troops has been made.

Gates said he has made his recommendation on extra troops to Obama.

He could not say whether the president is expected to send all or a portion of the troops to Afghanistan.

“The options before him give him several ways of going forward, including the pacing of troops going to Afghanistan, so the answer to your question will depend on the decisions he makes,” Gates said.

Gates also would not say how many of the reinforcements could be in place before the spring fighting season.

“I’m not going to pre-judge the decisions that the president is going to make,” he said.

The Defense Department still hopes to “adhere to that very rough time line that the secretary has outlined” for getting the extra troops to Afghanistan, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said on Monday.

Whitman also said it can take up to three months to remission a unit from Iraq to Afghanistan.


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