Democrat Barack Obama said Monday that as president, he would send at least two more combat brigades to Afghanistan, where US soldiers face rising violence.
Monthly death tolls of US and NATO troops in Afghanistan surpassed US military deaths in Iraq in May and June, and a militant attack Sunday on a remote military outpost killed nine American soldiers - the deadliest assault on US forces in Afghanistan in three years.
Obama's proposed force increase is part of a plan to pull combat troops out of Iraq and focus on the growing threat from a resurgent al-Qaida in Afghanistan.
"As president, I would pursue a new strategy, and begin by providing at least two additional combat brigades to support our effort in Afghanistan," Obama said in an op-ed published Monday in The New York Times. It came a day before he plans a speech here on his vision for Iraq and Afghanistan.
"We need more troops, more helicopters, better intelligence-gathering and more nonmilitary assistance to accomplish the mission there," Obama said. "I would not hold our military, our resources and our foreign policy hostage to a misguided desire to maintain permanent bases in Iraq."