By Peter Baker, Washington Post Staff Writer. Sunday, March 11, 2007; Page A01
ANCHORENA PARK, Uruguay, March 10 — President Bush approved 8,200 more U.S. troops for Iraq and Afghanistan on top of reinforcements already ordered to those two countries, the White House said Saturday, a move that comes amid a fiery debate in Washington over the Iraq war.
The president agreed to send 4,700 troops to Iraq in addition to the 21,500 he ordered to go in January, mainly to provide support for those combat forces and to handle more anticipated Iraqi prisoners. He also decided to send a 3,500-member brigade to Afghanistan to accelerate training of local forces, doubling his previous troop increase to fight a resurgent Taliban.
Although officials had foreshadowed the additional forces for Iraq in recent days, the latest troop increase in Afghanistan had not been known and will bring U.S. forces there to an all-time high. The deployments underscore the challenges facing the United States in both countries and further stretch an already strained military. In Iraq particularly, the moves could fuel suspicions that a troop increase initially described as a temporary “surge” may grow larger and last longer than predicted.