'Civilian Surge' Plan For Afghanistan Hits A Snag - Jackie Northam, National Public Radio.
Speculation abounds over whether President Obama will authorize a troop increase in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, the administration is expected to increase the deployment of American government civilian workers - experts who can help rebuild the country. But there are problems persuading civilians with the requisite skills to go to Afghanistan. When Obama unveiled his administration's strategy for Afghanistan in March, he emphasized that civilian experts were just as critical as the tens of thousands of additional US military personnel he was sending at that time.
"We need agricultural specialists and educators, engineers and lawyers," he said. "That's how we can help the Afghan government serve its people, and develop an economy that isn't dominated by illicit drugs. That's why I'm ordering a substantial increase in our civilians on the ground." To that end, the administration announced it would send about 450 civilians from several branches of the government by March 2010. The timetable was then accelerated to December of this year. But so far, only about a quarter of that number have been deployed to Afghanistan...
More at NPR.