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More troops or 'failure': US commander in Afghanistan

Defeating the Taliban will become impossible without more soldiers, Gen. Stanley McChrystal said in a report made public Sunday, hours after President Obama repeated doubts about whether to send them.

By Jonathan AdamsCorrespondent / September 21, 2009



The United States' top commander in Afghanistan Gen. Stanley McChrystal warned that his mission "will likely result in failure" if he does not get more troops, according to an unclassified version of his assessment made public on the Washington Post website early Monday.

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The originally confidential report was publicized hours after US President Barack Obama expressed skepticism on sending more troops to Afghanistan in a tour of the TV talk shows Sunday.

It was sent to the White House in late August and is currently under review. It comes as President Obama faces difficult choices on how to best prosecute a war that has become increasingly unpopular amid a rising body count and a pack of other domestic priorities.

Obama came into office pledging to refocus American military might on Afghanistan, which harbored and trained the terrorists that carried out the 9/11 attacks.

But a growing chorus of critics now says the US risks becoming bogged down in a grinding war of attrition with the Taliban, as it tries to train and prop up Afghan security forces whose capabilities lag far behind even Iraq's.

The Washington Post posted an unclassified version of General McChrystal's report on its website.

In one section of the report, McChrystal warns: "The campaign in Afghanistan has historically been under-resourced and remains so today -- ISAF [the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan] is operating in a culture of poverty ... Consequently, ISAF requires more forces."

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