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US sends 400 marines from Afghanistan for Libya operation

US sends 400 marines from Afghanistan for Libya operation

Mar 02, 2011 - 11:12

WASHINGTON (PANinfo-icon): The US has redeployed 400 marines from Afghanistaninfo-icon to the Mediterranean to assist in humanitarian and evacuation operations in Libya, the defence secretary, Robert Gates, said.

However, Gates cautioned that before any military operation in Lbya, where protesters are fighting pitched battles with dictator Moammer Qadaffi’s mercenaries, the US should consider the implications of the operation on Afghanistan and on the Gulf region.

“I have directed several navy ships to the Mediterranean.  The USS Kearsarge and the (USS) Ponce will be entering the Mediterranean shortly and will provide us a capability for both emergency evacuations and also for humanitarian relief,” Gates told reporters.

 “About 1,400 marines from the Kearsarge are serving in Afghanistan.  So we are sending about 400 marines from the US that will be in support of the Kearsarge's mission,” Gates said at a Pentagon news conference.

As the call for an international military intervention in Libya gathers strength, Gates told reporters the US should consider the implications of such a move.

“If we move additional assets, what are the consequences of that for Afghanistan, for the Persian Gulf? And what other allies are prepared to work with us in some of these things? So I think those are some of the effects that we have to think about,” Gates said.

“We also have to think about, frankly, the use of the US military in another country in the Middle East. So I think we're sensitive about all of these things, but we will provide the president with a full range of options,” Gates said.



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