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White House aides: No Afghan decision before Thanksgiving

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Anne E. Kornblut
Washington Post
Thursday, Nov 19th, 2009

President Barack Obama will not announce his decision on sending more troops to Afghanistan before the Thanksgiving holiday, senior aides said on Thursday.

The news came as the president greeted 1,500 troops at Osan Air Base in South Korea, just before boarding Air Force One and heading back to Washington after an eight-day Asia trip.

Obama and his top military and diplomatic aides have been deliberating for months over how to proceed in Afghanistan, where the United States and its partners have sought for eight years to defeat the Taliban and deny al-Qaeda a safe haven from which it can plan and launch attacks.

Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, has stated that without the deployment of up to 40,000 additional of troops within the next year, the mission “will likely result in failure.” But some aides are arguing for a much smaller troop increase, and the U.S. ambassador in Kabul, Karl W. Eikenberry, has questioned whether the Afghan government can be a reliable partner.

Obama said in interviews Wednesday that he would reveal his decision within the next several weeks. On Thursday, aides clarified that there would be no announcement before Thanksgiving, one week away. Senior administration officials said Obama intends to meet with his national security team again before going public with his plans.

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This article was posted: Thursday, November 19, 2009 at 12:05 pm





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