Obama vows to move with urgency on Afghanistan

US President Barack Obama has sought the advice of a bipartisan panel of Congress members as he debates whether to meet a plea for troop reinforcements in Afghanistan. Obama warned his new strategy would not please everyone.


AFP - US President Barack Obama promised lawmakers Tuesday to move with a sense of urgency on deciding whether to send more troops to Afghanistan, but warned his new war strategy would not please everyone.

Obama met senior congressional leaders at the White House as he conducts an intense review of policy before deciding on whether to grant a reported request by the military to deploy 40,000 more US troops to the unpopular war.

"Given the importance of the policy to our security -- and to our troops -- the president said that he will be rigorous and deliberate, while moving forward with a sense of urgency," a senior Obama administration official said.

"The president was clear that he will make the decision that he thinks will best prevent future attacks on the American homeland and our allies," the official said on condition of anonymity.

"He also made it clear that his decision won't make everybody in the room or the nation happy, but underscored his commitment to work on a collaborative basis with the understanding that everyone wants what is best for the country."

The official also said that the president showed some frustration with the narrative developing around the Afghan strategy debate, that his decision was about "either doubling down or leaving Afghanistan."

Obama welcomed leaders of the Democratic and Republican parties plus the heads of key congressional committees to the White House to discuss his policy review.

Republican Senator John McCain told reporters after the meeting that the best option for Obama was to approve the request for more troops by war commander General Stanley McChrystal.

"There are a number of options but the option that is presented by our commanders in the field, endorsed by the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, should be given obviously additional weight because they were correct in employing the strategy that succeeded in Iraq," McCain said.

Nancy Pelosi, Democratic speaker of the House of Representatives meanwhile praised Obama for holding the meeting, adding that Democrats, many of whom oppose sending more troops, would await his final determinations.

"There was agreement that it is a very difficult decision for the president to make," Pelosi said.

"Whether we agree with it or vote for it remains to be seen."

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