Obama's troop decision could come before Afghan runoff

15:22, October 22, 2009      

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U.S. President Barack Obama's decision on whether to send more troops to Afghanistan could come before the country's Nov. 7 runoff election, the White House said Wednesday.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said it's "possible" the president could reach such a decision before then, despite earlier suggestions from the White House that the administration wanted to wait until after the runoff to announce its new Afghan strategy.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, as well as Defense Secretary Robert Gates, have said the president should not let the runoff election hold up his decision on troop levels.

Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in the country, has called for 40,000 more troops in minimum -- a request Obama has been considering as he and his security team are reviewing strategy in the long-running war.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai agreed Tuesday to a runoff following a finding of widespread fraud in the August election.

He will face ex-Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah.

Source: Xinhua
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