White House: Obama Afghan strategy not set

Nov. 10, 2009 at 1:07 AM
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WASHINGTON, Nov. 10 (UPI) -- The White House said Monday a report that President Barack Obama has decided to send a large number of troops to Afghanistan "is absolutely false."

Citing a source described as a senior official, CBS News reported Monday the president has decided to send four combat brigades and thousands of support troops to Afghanistan and to keep a large force there for the long term. The report said Obama intends to agree to most, if not all, of a request by Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, for 40,000 new troops.

White House National Security Adviser Jim Jones said the president has not decided on a strategy, and hasn't even received final options to be considered, the New York Daily News reported.

"Reports that President Obama has made a decision about Afghanistan are absolutely false," Jones said. "He has not received final options for his consideration, he has not reviewed those options with his national security team, and he has not made any decisions about resources. Any reports to the contrary are completely untrue and come from uninformed sources."

CBS said the first new contingent of troops would arrive in Afghanistan early in 2010 and the deployment would not be completed until the end of 2010. The report said Obama would not likely announce his decision before returning to the United States from China this month.

In an interview with ABC News Monday, Obama said he plans to meet again with top advisers to discuss strategy in Afghanistan.

"I've been asking not only General McChrystal, but all of our commanders who are familiar with the situation, as well as our civilian folks on the ground, a lot of questions that, until they're answered, may -- may create a situation in which we resource something based on faulty premises," he said.

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