It seems like a never-ending discussion of what to do next. Sources say US defence secretary Robert Gates, Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and secretary of state Hillary Clinton are coming together to send 30,000 additional US troops to Afghanistan. However, President Barack Obama remains uncomfortable with what he is learning about how the Afghan and Pakistani governments would, or could, carry out a new strategy, or the capacity for reform of the government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Obama is looking at four options of varied troop levels, but with different goals on how much Afghan territory the troops would seek to control, as well as expectations for training Afghan forces. Three options call for adding 20,000 to 25,000 troops, 30,000 troops, or one that accepts US commander General Stanley McChrystal’s original proposal for 40,000 more troops. Administration officials said a fourth option had been added as well – troop levels unknown. Obama’s advisors remind that the president has not yet reached a decision, and other top advisors like Vice President Joseph Biden and White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, remain sceptical of any build-up in Afghanistan. Read more at the NYTimes
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