White House: Waiting on Afghan review

Aug. 24, 2009 at 1:22 PM
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EDGARTOWN, Mass., Aug. 24 (UPI) -- A spokesman said Monday U.S. President Barack Obama will wait for a review from the U.S. commander in Afghanistan to decide on more troops or changing strategy.

Deputy White House press secretary Bill Burton spoke to reporters at Martha's Vineyard, Mass., where the Obama family is taking a weeklong vacation.

Asked whether "the president (is) at all concerned that perhaps there are not enough troops on the ground (in Afghanistan) to get the job done," Burton said the president believes the plan in place "is a winning strategy," but the administration is waiting on a review by Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, commander of U.S. Forces Afghanistan.

The reason "that we're there (in Afghanistan) is because the people who plotted and executed the attacks of 9/11 (Sept. 11, 2001) operate there still and are still plotting against us. And the reason that we're there is to stop them. The president put in place a strategy by which we would disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-Qaida and its extremist allies, and his view is that ... his policy earlier this year to put more troops on the ground, put a new strategy in place, is a winning strategy."

McChrystal "has only been there for a short time, but he's undergoing a thorough review and assessment of the progress that we've made and what else we need to do in order to continue to make progress," Burton said. "So I think that we're going to hold off until we get that assessment back, not prejudge or predetermine based on reports that are coming out of the region and making a ... decision accordingly."

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