WASHINGTON (CNN) – President Barack Obama huddled with top military, foreign policy and national security advisers Wednesday as part of an ongoing review of U.S. strategy in Afghanistan.
The meeting, the fifth such gathering in recent weeks, came as the administration continued to weigh a call for as many as 40,000 additional troops from Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan.
McChrystal has said the extra manpower is necessary to implement an effective counterinsurgency strategy.
Others in the administration are advocating a different approach. Vice President Joe Biden has called for a counterterrorism strategy, which would focus on using special forces and technology to reduce the number of al Qaeda insurgents on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.
"I will tell you that our principal goal remains to root out al Qaeda and its extremist allies that can launch attacks against the United States or its allies," Obama said Tuesday.
"That's our principal mission. We are also obviously interested in stability in the region, and that includes not only Afghanistan, but also Pakistan."
Obama has come under intense pressure from several leading senators to follow McChrystal's recommendation - a move vehemently opposed by many liberal Democrats.
Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, said last Sunday any added military deployment that fell short of McChrystal's request "would be an error of historic proportions."
"And I think the great danger now is a half-measure, sort of a - you know, try[ing] to please all ends of the political spectrum," McCain told CNN's John King.
"I have great sympathy for the president, making the toughest decisions that presidents have to make, but I think he needs to use deliberate speed," he said.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, argued U.S. troops would be put in "jeopardy" if Obama does not listen to McChrystal.
"I don't know how you put somebody in who's as crackerjack as General McChrystal, who gives the president very solid recommendations, and not take those recommendations if you're not going to pull out," she said Sunday on ABC's "This Week."
Feinstein heads the Senate Intelligence Committee.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced Wednesday that he is increasing British troop levels in Afghanistan to 9,500 - an increase of 500.
The British have the second-largest contingent in Afghanistan, after the United States, according to NATO's International Security Assistance Force.
Obama announced a plan to send 21,000 additional troops to Afghanistan in March. A total of 65,000 U.S. soldiers are currently serving in the war torn country.
CNN's Richard Greene and Adam Levine contributed to this report.
So why did he make an announcement in March that they had thoroughly reviewed the Afghan strategy only now to say that they haven't reviewed the strategy? And why is it taking them over 10 months to review the war strategy? Seems to me Obama's priorities are askew.
Who wants to bet that Obama votes to return to air raiding villages and killing innocent civilians, now that he is in charge??
How many times will he meet with his advisers while our soldiers die? Make up your mind already. This indecision just makes you look weak.
The strategy for Afganistan should be a combination of Pakistan on one end and NATO on the other to effectively defeat the Talibans. Nothing short of total encampment will defeat the Taliban. Also, the politics of reintegration should also be played to avoid protracted guerilla war tactics.
Lets me get this straight. Eight years of war, several years of presidential campaigning during which Barry assured us that he, unlike that ignoramus W. , knew what to do, and now the killing goes on because he and the trusty Joe Biden need time to read a history book. Surely, hypocrites don't run our country?
Our troops are in danger and dying..while Obama just lets it happen. What a shame they are stuck working under this awful commander-in-chief. God bless our troops!
And by all means, if the Afghan cant get it together then SPLIT the country in two like what we did to North Korea/South Korea.
People that need to live for freedom and be governed by a centralized shared warlord or government, need to move South. So we know who to protect and who to grow into a healthy nation.... this is the only recipe for success since Afghan is MESSED up.... (this is safer for us and will provide real results.. we split korea up, why not Afghan? )
Or we leave Afghan and jsut drop enough bombs to amke them miserable to be used as an Al Qaeda or extremist sites....
"..the fifth such gathering in weeks..." – SO WHAT?
Why even mention that CNN? Are you trying to plant the suggestion that 5 meetings in weeks is too many?....President Obama just can't win for losing. If he doesn't meet with his Nat Sec Team he's criticized, if he meets 5 times in weeks he's criticized for meeting too much. Sheesh. Just report the news CNN, leave out the extras please. Thank you.
Anyone who thinks that we should pull out of Afganistan is an idiot. The only person who should have pulled out is Obama's father.
Biden is such a fool, we already have special forces there doing what he suggested. The taliban are the ones that need to be outsted, they are the ones doing the killings and the bombings. What is wrong with these people, Odumbo and Biden live in a Utopia that doesnt exsist.
Listen to your military adviser's and get this over with and send our troops home.
Just curious as to how many US troops have died while Obama "reviews", "studies" and "debates" this. Obama sent McChrystal there and when the general didn't report back what Obama wanted to hear, Obama wants more time to "think".
Wait until Obamacare and Pelosicare comes to care for seniors.