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Page last updated at 05:42 GMT, Thursday, 24 September 2009 06:42 UK

US commander denies Afghan rift

By Jonathan Beale
BBC News, Washington

Italian soldiers in Herat province June 2009
The general's report says the US risks "failure" in Afghanistan.

The top US military commander in Afghanistan has denied that there is a rift with the White House over sending more troops to Afghanistan.

Gen Stanley McChrystal recently submitted a bleak assessment of the war in which he warned of the danger of failure without adequate resources.

President Obama says he wants to ensure that he has the right strategy before committing to sending more troops.

More than 30,000 extra US troops have been sent to Afghanistan since May.

This has almost doubled the US contingent in the country.

In Washington there have been signs of a widening gulf between US military commanders on the one hand - and senior political advisors to President Obama on the other.

'Not resigning'

Gen McChrystal has not yet officially asked for more troops - but his assessment makes clear that the request will come soon. And he is being backed by his superiors in the Pentagon.

But in the White House there is still a debate about the military strategy - with some voices close to the President cautioning against expanding the military operation.

Now Gen McChrystal has weighed into the debate clearly hoping to defuse the tension.

In a telephone interview with the New York Times he says a policy debate is warranted.

He also dismisses suggestions that he has ever contemplated resigning.

He repeats his belief that success in Afghanistan is achievable and adds that he is not been limited in identifying additional resources that might be required.

Some reports suggest that Gen McChrystal might ask for an extra 40,000 troops.



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