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Obama to Consult with Biden, Clinton on Afghan Policy

By VOA News
08 October 2009

U.S. President Barack Obama convenes a high-level strategy session on Afghanistan Thursday, the latest in a series of meetings reviewing the U.S. approach in the war there.

He will meet at the White House with Vice President Joseph Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The talks come one day after President Obama met with his senior military and political advisors.

The three-hour session on Wednesday - the eighth anniversary of the war - focused on neighboring Pakistan, a key component of Mr. Obama's strategy. The White House says the administration believes the Pakistanis are stepping up efforts to deal with extremists.

U.S. casualties in Afghanistan have risen sharply in recent months, amid more aggressive operations against the Taliban and other militant groups. Public opinion polls show the war is steadily losing support among the American public.

The president, who held a session earlier in the week with members of Congress, convenes a meeting of national security officials on Friday.

The White House confirmed Wednesday that Mr. Obama received a request from the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, for additional troops.

McChrystal has warned the United States could lose the war if more troops are not deployed to Afghanistan. He is said to be calling for as many as 40,000 additional troops.

But administration officials suggest Mr. Obama is considering a "middle ground" between McChrystal's request and a proposal that would narrowly focus military efforts on al-Qaida militants. The proposal, credited to Mr. Biden, calls for an increase in air strikes against al-Qaida targets using unmanned Predator drones and special forces, while keeping U.S. troops at current levels.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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