- Nov 22, 2003
- Reaction score
Watching some of the areas being brought up at statfor, strategy page, and now this:
U.S. general wants more troops for volatile province
By Andrew GrayFri Mar 9, 1:45 PM ET
The U.S. commander for northern Iraq has asked for more troops to clamp down on insurgent attacks and sectarian violence in the volatile province of Diyala, he said on Friday.
Maj. Gen. Benjamin Mixon said he had moved additional forces from his own area into Diyala and requested extra troops from elsewhere in the country from Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno, the top commander of day-to-day operations in Iraq.
"Could I use more forces in Diyala? No question about it and I'm in discussions about it with Gen. Odierno as he attempts to balance the requirements in Baghdad," Mixon told reporters at the Pentagon by videolink from Iraq.
Despite opposition from Democrats who want a timetable for a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, President George W. Bush has already ordered more than 20,000 additional troops into battle, most of them to help stabilize Baghdad. There are currently about 140,000 U.S. troops in the country.
Religiously mixed Diyala, northeast of Baghdad, has witnessed some of the worst sectarian violence in Iraq between Shi'ites and Sunnis. A suicide bomber killed 30 people in a cafe in a town in Diyala on Wednesday.
U.S military commanders say militants are also using Diyala -- a rural area of palm groves and orchards -- as a launching ground for attacks in Baghdad.
Mixon declined to say how many additional troops he had requested but advised reporters to "keep an eye on what goes on in Diyala over the next couple of weeks."
He said he was encouraged by security progress in other northern provinces but that violence had increased in Diyala.