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More troops sought in Afghanistan

US soldiers in Afghanistan
The US has already sent thousands of extra troops to Afghanistan

The top US military commander in Afghanistan, Gen Stanley McChrystal, has formally requested more troops.

The Pentagon said it would put the request on hold until President Barack Obama decided what overall strategy to pursue in Afghanistan.

President Obama has already sent 21,000 extra troops to Afghanistan this year.

In a report leaked last month, Gen McChrystal wrote that his mission was likely to fail if he was not given extra forces.

The details of what the general says he needs are not known. But analysts said he had been expected to submit of a range of options from 10,000 additional troops up to 40,000.

There are currently about 100,000 foreign soldiers in Afghanistan from more than 40 countries - more than over 60,000 of them American.

'Sceptical audience'

BBC defence and security correspondent Nick Childs says other Nato and non-Nato troop-contributing countries have also been waiting - perhaps bracing themselves - to receive a request from Gen McChrystal.

New commander of Nato forces in Afghanistan Gen Stanley McChrystal
What what we need to do is to correct some of the ways we operated in the past
General Stanley McChrystal
(In recent BBC interview)

Our correspondent says the fact that the Pentagon is not planning to forward the formal request to the White House will give President Obama some more breathing space.

In last month's report, Gen McChrystal wrote: "The situation in Afghanistan is serious, but success is achievable and demands a revised implementation strategy, commitment and resolve, and increased unity of effort."

President Obama has described himself as "a sceptical audience" to sending more soldiers, and says he wants to be sure the current strategy is correct first.

The Taliban insurgents are growing in influence, control larger parts of the country.

A Gallup poll published on Friday showed a fall in support for the war in America, with 50% opposed to sending more troops, while 41% supported it, reports say.

White House advisers are reported to be split over whether to to accept Gen McChrystal's assessment or pursue an alternative strategy.



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