Obama to discuss Afghan war with congressional leaders

10:56, October 06, 2009      

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U.S. President Barack Obama will discuss Afghan war with top congressional leaders from both major parties Tuesday, as the U.S. government is reviewing its Afghan strategy.

Obama will meet, among others, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Minority Leader John Boehner, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and the heads of the armed services and foreign relations committees in the House and Senate, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said at a regular briefing Monday.

"There's no doubt that, particularly on (Afghan war) funding, it is not going to happen until Congress signs off," he said.

"They're an important part of this, and the president wants to hear from them," Gibbs added.

Washington is currently split on the future direction of the Afghan strategy.

On one hand, top military leaders and opposition Republicans are pressing Obama to act quickly to increase the present 68,000-troop level by as many as 40,000.

Meanwhile, senior White House advisors are reportedly pushing back the request for sending large number of additional troops to Afghanistan, saying that the United States should instead focus on faster military training of Afghan forces, assassinations of al-Qaida leaders and support for the government of neighboring Pakistan in its fight against the Taliban.

As the casualty toll grows and public support for the Afghan war wanes, Obama is carrying out a major strategy review of his Afghanistan policy, which could either lead to more troops being sent or a cutback in the 68,000-strong U.S. force there.

Source: Xinhua
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