The U.S. commander in northern Iraq said Friday that he doesn’t have enough troops for the mission in increasingly violent Diyala province.
Gen. Benjamin R. Mixon also said that Iraqi government officials are not moving fast enough to provide the “most powerful weapon” against insurgents — a government that works and supplies services for the people.
Mixon commands the area that includes Diyala province, north of Baghdad. It was a hotbed of the Sunni insurgency before the start of the Baghdad security crackdown and has worsened since militants fled there to avoid the increased U.S.-led operations started in the capital in February.
Mixon has already received extra troops and has increased attacks on militants. But he has asked Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno, the No. 2 commander in Iraq, for more.
“I laid out a plan for General Odierno on the numbers of forces that I would need,” Mixon told Pentagon reporters by video conference from Iraq. “We have made progress ... we have taken terrain back from the enemy. General Odierno intends to give me additional forces as they become available.”
Mixon, also commander of the 25th Infantry Division, has about 3,500 troops in his area and there are about 10,000 Iraqi soldiers and several thousand Iraqi police, with 3,000 more police approved but not yet hired and trained.