- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Defense and congressional officials say President Obama has approved an increase in U.S. forces for the flagging war in Afghanistan.

The Obama administration is expected to announce on Tuesday or Wednesday that it will send one additional Army brigade and an unknown number of Marines to Afghanistan this spring. One official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the total is about 17,000 troops.

That would be the first installment on a larger influx of U.S. forces that has been widely expected this year. It would get a few thousand troops in place in time for the increase in fighting that usually comes with warmer weather and ahead of national elections this summer.