7 October 2009
President Obama has announced that he will not be removing or reducing troop numbers in Afghanistan. However it is not clear if he intends to increase the number of troops either, as the top general in Afghanistan wants.
Click to hear the report:
The President is making it clear that leaving Afghanistan is not an option, it's not on the table. According to one White House source, he told the meeting that he wouldn't shrink the number of troops in Afghanistan or opt for a strategy of merely targeting al-Qaeda leaders. But he wouldn't be drawn on the military request for more troops.
There appears to be a frustration that the review of strategy has sometimes been portrayed in black-and-white terms of a massive increase or reduction of troop numbers.
President Obama told the group made up of the most senior Republican and Democrat senators and congressmen that his assessment would be "rigorous and deliberate". But it's going on too long for some Republicans and members of the President's own party are dubious about committing more resources and military personnel to a conflict where there is no end in sight. The word 'Vietnam' is heard more and more on Capitol Hill.
The President was certainly right when he said his final decision wouldn't make everyone in the room, or the country, happy.
Mark Mardell, BBC News, Washington
Click to hear the vocabulary:
- is not an option, it's not on the table
is not going to be discussed or considered
- according to one White House source
as stated by someone who works inside the government and has government information
decrease or make smaller
- opt for a strategy of merely targeting al Qaeda leaders
decide to follow a plan of directing their attention only to the people controlling al Qaeda
- wouldn't be drawn
refused to be persuaded to discuss or reveal his plans
- black-and-white terms
simple concepts which are easy to understand
- made up of
- rigorous and deliberate
- dubious about committing more resources and military personnel
doubtful of promising money, soldiers and time
- no end in sight
be a solution or outcome to the situation in the near future