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Pentagon Says U.S. Troop Surge Into Afghanistan Under Way

U.S. Marines in Afghanistan (file photo)

U.S. Marines in Afghanistan (file photo)

The U.S. Defense Department says the first of the additional 30,000 troops ordered to Afghanistan by President Barack Obama have begun to arrive in the country.

Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell told reporters on December 16 that members of a 1,500-strong Marine battalion have already arrived in Afghanistan, with the rest of the battalion expected to be flown in before December 25.

Morrell said the new "surge" of American forces into Afghanistan "has begun in earnest."

In a bid to reverse gains made by the Taliban and to stabilize Afghanistan, Obama announced on December 1 that he had ordered 30,000 more U.S. troops to the country -- a move that is expected to bring the total U.S. troop deployment in Afghanistan to nearly 100,000 by next summer.

compiled from agency reports