NATO allies apparently won't be able to contribute the thousands of additional troops needed in Afghanistan to deal with a Taliban offensive that's expected in the spring, so plans are being drawn up to send thousands more U.S. Marines.
The goal had been to get the allies to provide the extra forces. But a Pentagon spokesman says it's become clear that the allies are "not in the position to provide them." So, he says, the U.S. is now looking at "perhaps carrying a bit of that additional load."
For months, officials had insisted that the U.S. wasn't inclined to send those troops.
In previous years, the Taliban have launched an offensive in the spring, and that's expected to happen again this year. And when Defense Secretary Robert Gates was in Afghanistan last month, commanders made it clear that they need additional forces.
The proposal to send a ground and air Marine contingent and a Marine battalion, totaling more than 3,000 forces, will go before Gates Friday. It's described as a "one-time, seven-month deployment."
The spokesman says Gates will "consider it thoroughly before approving it."