U.S. President Barack Obama and his senior military and political
advisers have met for another review of U.S. strategy in Afghanistan,
with Pakistan being the main focus of this latest security meeting.
President Obama convened Wednesday's White House talks on the eighth
anniversary of the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan. Moments before the
session began, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the
administration believes the Pakistanis are stepping up their efforts to
deal with extremists in their midst.
Pakistan remains a key component of Mr. Obama's Afghanistan strategy,
and is receiving a great deal of attention as the White House conducts
its detailed review. So far, two other lengthy sessions on Afghanistan
have taken place.
Separately, the Pentagon says President Obama has received a request
from General Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. and NATO commander in
Afghanistan, for additional troops there.
A Pentagon spokesman (Geoff Morrell) says Mr. Obama asked
for a copy of the request, and that Defense Secretary Robert Gates
provided it. It is not clear when McChrystal's request will be
discussed as part of the strategy review.
McChrystal has warned the United States could lose the conflict if more
troops are not deployed to Afghanistan. His call for extra troops is
said to be in the range of 30,000 to 40,000 to fight Taliban insurgents.
U.S. casualties in Afghanistan have risen sharply in recent months due
to an increase in the number of U.S. troops in the country and more
aggressive operations against the Taliban and other militant groups.