Tags: troops | war | Afghan | Obama

White House Mulling 30,000 More Afghan War Troops

Tuesday, 10 Nov 2009 11:41 PM


WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton are coalescing around a proposal to send 30,000 or more additional American troops to Afghanistan, but President Obama remains unsatisfied with answers he has gotten about how vigorously the governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan would help execute a new strategy, administration officials said Tuesday.

Mr. Obama is to consider four final options in a meeting with his national security team on Wednesday, his press secretary, Robert Gibbs, told reporters. The options outline different troop levels, other officials said, but they also assume different goals — including how much of Afghanistan the troops would seek to control — and different time frames and expectations for the training of Afghan security forces.

Three of the options call for specific levels of additional troops. The low-end option would add 20,000 to 25,000 troops, a middle option calls for about 30,000, and another embraces Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal’s request for roughly 40,000 more troops. Administration officials said that a fourth option was added only in the past few days. They declined to identify any troop level attached to it.

Mr. Gates, a Republican who served as President George W. Bush’s last defense secretary, and who commands considerable respect from the president, is expected to be pivotal in Mr. Obama’s decision. But administration officials cautioned that Mr. Obama had not yet made up his mind, and that other top advisers, among them Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and the White House chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, remained skeptical of the value of a buildup.

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Tuesday, 10 Nov 2009 11:41 PM
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