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Pentagon Delays Afghan Troop Request


US General Stanley McChrystal in Kabul (file photo)

US General Stanley McChrystal in Kabul (file photo)

WASHINGTON/KABUL (Reuters) -- The Pentagon has told its top commander in Afghanistan to delay submitting his request for additional troops until the Obama administration completes a review of its strategy, "The Wall Street Journal" reported.

Army General Stanley McChrystal, the top commander of U.S and NATO forces in Afghanistan, warned in a confidential assessment leaked to the media on September 21 that without the additional troops the mission "will likely result in failure."

A senior Pentagon official said the administration had asked for the reprieve so it can complete a review of the U.S.-led war effort, the newspaper reported.

"We have to make sure we have the right strategy" before looking at additional troop requests.... Things have changed on the ground fairly considerably," the official told the newspaper.

There are already more than 100,000 foreign soldiers in Afghanistan, battling an insurgency which has taken control of many parts of the south and east of the country in what has so far been the deadliest year for foreign troops since 2001.

The leaking of the military report piles more pressure on President Barack Obama, already squeezed by ebbing public support and skepticism in his own party over troop levels.

Obama has said in interviews over the past week that he will consider deploying more troops after a proper U.S. strategy for Afghanistan has been determined.

Asked about the newspaper report, Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said the hope was that the matter would be resolved soon.
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