As the war in Iraq begins to wind down, U.S. troops begin preparing to deploy to Afghanistan, to finish the job started after the September 11, 2001 attacks. Of course, one of the main objectives in the Afghanistan surge will be to regain control and security in the country, much as occurred during the surge in Iraq.
The Iowa National Guard is expected to contribute troops to the surge, and the Pentagon recently announced that the soldiers would be deployed in the fall. However, KCCI.com reports that Brig. General Gregory Schwab, the deputy adjuant general of the Iowa Army National Guard recently updated a House-Senate budget subcommittee that a 3,500-member brigade, the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, could be deployed by late summer, ahead of schedule.
President Obama is expected to announce more details of the surge during Wednesday's State of the Union address, which will be carried live on all major networks.
There have been many criticisms leveled against President Obama for continuing former President George W. Bush's policies regarding both Iraq and Afghanistan, and there have been allusions made that the war in Afghanistan will be lost without these additional troops, due to resurgence in Taliban military activity. NATO officials have even made pleas to Russian military officials for logistical support, as the war, which is now entering its ninth year, begins to strain Allied forces and supply lines. According to Italian Admiral Giampaolo Di Paola, chairman of NATO's military committe, says that it is now "time to completely reset the button, not in just a verbal sense, but a practical sense," in regard to the Russians. Di Paola also said that NATO is expecting to have a working plan of cooperation with the Russians available when the alliance meets again in May.
Many say, however, that even additional troops in Afghanistan will not solve the real problem - that is, the ability of al-Qaeda to operate both in Afghanistan and across the border in Pakistan, recruiting, training, and planning across-the-border operations. Some are advocating Allied military operations within Pakistan itself - there have already been several Predator drone missions against al-Qaeda operatives in Pakistan, but some believe that the only way to "finish the job," and to find al-Qaeda leader and alleged 9-11 mastermind Osama bin Laden, is to get Allied troops across the border into Pakistan, to search the mountainous border regions on the Pakistani side, where bin Laden is believed to have fled after Allied airstrikes in the Bora Bora region in 2001.