| ||US Sent Afghanistan Surge Troops ‘To Wrong Province', Book Claims|
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The Pentagon sent thousands of US troops to the wrong province in Afghanistan and "squandered more than a year of the war," a book to be published Tuesday claims.
According to "Little America: The War Within the War for Afghanistan," President Barack Obama gave the green light for a reinforcement of 17,000 US Marines to be deployed to the war-torn country in February 2009 and another 30,000 later the same year, The (London) Times reported Monday.
However, more than 50 percent of the initial 17,000 ended up in Helmand Province- where the British already had a presence - instead of nearby Kandahar, which is considered the spiritual home of the insurgents.
"Can someone tell me why the Marines were sent to Helmand?" Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the then-commander of US and International Security Assistance Force troops in Afghanistan, was alleged to have asked upon his arrival in Kabul in June 2009.
McChrystal reportedly regarded Helmand to be of "far lower strategic significance."
If the first batch of surge troops had been deployed to Kandahar, "it could have obviated the need for a full 30,000 surge later that year or it could have granted commanders the flexibility to combat insurgent havens in eastern Afghanistan much sooner," the book states.
McChrystal was forced to end his 34-year career in the wake of a June 2010 Rolling Stone magazine article that showcased his brusque criticism of the Obama administration's approach to the war in Afghanistan, as well as some of his subordinates' disparaging remarks about administration officials.
"Little America: The War Within the War for Afghanistan" is written by The Washington Post war correspondent Rajiv Chandrasekaran, who conducted 70 interviews with government officials and US military commanders. He also traveled a dozen times to Afghanistan.