Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Afghan ball still in Obama's court...

...awaiting return of General McChrystal's serve:

1) Obama Receives New Afghan Option
'Hybrid' Compromise Would Combine Troops, Trainers to Hold Back Taliban and Boost Local Military

President Barack Obama on Wednesday will consider a new compromise plan for adding troops to Afghanistan that would deploy 30,000 to 35,000 new forces, including as many as 10,000 military trainers, over the next year or more.

The new scenario combines reinforcements for fighting Taliban insurgents with trainers aimed at rapidly increasing the size and capabilities of Afghan troops to take on more operations themselves. It wouldn't aim to eliminate the Taliban, but weaken it until Afghan forces can secure major population centers themselves.

A senior military official said this hybrid option is now drawing the most attention at the Pentagon. It will be considered along with options already proposed by the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, when President Obama meets Wednesday with his war council at the White House.

Officials said Mr. Obama is now expected to unveil his new Afghanistan strategy shortly after he returns from a trip to Asia on Nov. 19.

The issue of troop levels has put Mr. Obama in a difficult position. Gen. McChrystal has argued that tens of thousands of additional troops are needed to successfully curb the Taliban's resurgence. But many Democratic lawmakers have signaled they don't support such a buildup, and the American public's support for the war has waned...
2) 3 Top Obama Advisers Favor Adding Troops in Afghanistan
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates [more here], Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton [see end of this post] 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...
CDS serves a hard Afghan ball to the government


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