After three months of deliberations, US President Obama announced that the United States will be sending 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan, beefing up the 71,000 troops already deployed on the ground there. He said this during his speech to cadets at the US Military Academy at West Point, New York earlier this week. He was also quick to say that in 18 months time (July 2011), a drawdown would begin and troops would start heading home.
The war in Afghanistan would cost the military US$30 billion this year but as President Obama reiterated: "We must deny Al-Qaeda a safe haven. We must reverse the Taleban's momentum... and target the insurgency and secure key population centres."
Picture above shows US soldiers patrolling the centre of Kabul, Afghanistan, on Wednesday. The charts below shows US troop numbers building up in Afghanistan since 2001 and overall US troops to reach 101,000 in 2010 as compared to the other allied nations (about 38,000 in total) with a breakdown of troop numbers from each country.
The last chart shows the number of troops the US has deployed in major armed conflicts since 1945. The numbers in Afghanistan are getting pretty close to that in Iraq (115,000 US soldiers in 2009).
NOTE: We all (i.e. people I know and associate with) are of the belief that war is an atrocity that should be embarked on only when absolutely necessary and although 1/6 military collectors have an interest in military history and uniforms, that in no way should be seen as a support for wars. We abhor wars. "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing" attributed to Edmund Burke.
In a recent interview, General Norman Schwarzkopf was asked if he thought there was room for forgiveness towards the people who have harbored and abetted the terrorists who perpetrated the the 9/11 attack against America. His answer was classic. The General said: "I BELIEVE THAT FORGIVING THEM IS GOD'S FUNCTION, OUR JOB IS TO ARRANGE THE MEETING."
Having said that, here's another 1/6 ACU to add to the military collection. This 1/6 US Army ACU set from Wild Work will include: Army Combat Uniform (ACU), TC-2000 MICH Helmet with ACU Cover, ESS NVG Profile Goggles, TASC Headset with AN/PRC-148 MBITR Radio, ACU Radio Pouch, Tan Dump Pouch, ACU Plate Carrier with Cummerbund, ACU Kneepads, OD Nomex Gloves, ACU Shingle Triple M4 Ammo Pouch, ACU Pistol Ammo Pouch, ACU Drop-down Panel, ACU General Purpose Pouch, ACU Holster with M9 Berretta Pistol, ACU Double M4 Ammo Pouch, Shemagh, SCAR Assault Rifle, Boots, ACU Backpack, ACU Pouch
From a lot of the pictures I see, the US military is still using the M4 carbine. Haven't really seen pictures of the SCAR in combat. Perhaps the Special Forces but not the regular grunt.
The picture looked strange until I realized that usually they don't tuck in their shirts and he's missing the triangular groin guard in front. Just my observation from pictures I've seen and not from first hand experience :)
ETA: January 2010