THE PENTAGON – A request has been made by top commanders in Afghanistan to send 3,000 Marines to the country, FOX News has learned.
The goal would be to have the Marines in the region by April, the time of year when offensive actions by the Taliban usually pick up after the Spring thaw.
Senior Defense Department officials say International Security Assistance Forces Cmdr. Gen. Dan McNeil made the request, which has to be approved by Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Gates will receive the proposal on Friday, but not like make a decision on that day.
The plan calls for sending one ground and one air Marine contingent plus one battalion for a "one-time, seven-month deployment," Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morell said Wednesday.
Defense officials are not calling this a surge, rather a specific increase for more troops. Currently roughly 26,000 American troops are in Afghanistan, under NATO auspices. NATO commanders have asked for 7,500 more troops, but Gates has called on allies to contribute the additional forces.
FOX News' Justin Fishel and The Associated Press contributed to this report.