As the US death toll in Afghanistan rises President Obama is coming under pressure over which course of action to take.
He has met with both Democrat and Republican leaders to get their views on an overhaul of America’s strategy in Afghanistan. The key decision is whether to send more troops to tackle the Taliban head on, or to take a more targeted military approach, and do more to win over the hearts and minds of the Afghan people. The commander of US forces in Afghanistan has said up to 40,000 more troops are needed to win the war. He has the backing of top Republicans. Senator John McCain said: “I’m very convinced that General McChrystal’s analysis is not only correct but should be employed as quickly as possible.” Obama believes the mission is succeeding with existing troop levels. He said: We’re making real progress in our core mission: to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat Al Qaeda and other extremist networks around the world.” But he has not ruled out sending more troops, though this would be unpopular with many Americans. He is expected to unveil the new strategy in the coming weeks. Eight more soldiers were killed in combat at the weekend, underlining the dilemma the President faces.