HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html US To Add To Forces In Horn Of Africa
Pubdate: Wed, 30 Oct 2002
Source: New York Times (NY)
Section: National
Copyright: 2002 The New York Times Company
Author: Eric Schmitt


WASHINGTON, Oct. 29 - The United States is increasing its forces stationed 
around the Horn of Africa to about 1,200 troops, allowing them to conduct 
training missions and remain positioned to stage attacks against fighters 
for Al Qaeda who are believed to be hiding throughout the region, military 
officials said today.

About 400 troops assigned to the United States Central Command will soon 
arrive in Djibouti to establish a headquarters for the 800 American troops, 
including Special Operations forces, already in the East African country or 
on ships offshore.

Gen. Tommy R. Franks, the commander of American forces in the Persian Gulf, 
said at a Pentagon news conference today that the troop buildup was 
intended to allow the United States to broaden its security assistance to 
regional allies, while remaining poised to attack terrorists.

"It's tied to the global war on terrorism, and for sure it is," General 
Franks said. "But you also know that we have security relationships or 
engagement opportunities - however you choose to think about them - in a 
great many countries in the Horn of Africa: Kenya, Eritrea, Ethiopia, 
Djibouti, Yemen."

General Franks also fielded several questions about Afghanistan, where 
about 8,000 American troops continue to scour caves for die-hard Qaeda and 
Taliban fighters, and help the government of President Hamid Karzai rebuild 
the devastated country.

One area American troops will stay clear of is drug interdiction, Gen. 
Franks said. Opium production in Afghanistan skyrocketed to near-record 
levels this year, making the war-ravaged nation again the world's leading 
producer of the drug, according to a United Nations estimate released over 
the weekend.

During the war in Afghanistan, allied forces, particularly British forces, 
targeted production, storage and transportation facilities for heroin and 
other drugs that flood European markets.

Efforts by the Karzai administration to eradicate opium production by 
paying farmers to destroy their crops have failed because of a lack of 
money, violent demonstrations by farmers fearing their livelihoods were in 
jeopardy and the refusal of some local officials to destroy the crops.

General Franks said resolving the issue was up to the Afghans and 
nonmilitary agencies.
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