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The top U.S. military officer has received the eagerly awaited detailed troop request from the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, as the Obama administration continues a top-level review of its strategy.
A military official tells VOA the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, traveled to Germany Friday for an unannounced half-day meeting on a U.S. Air Base with the Afghanistan commander, General Stanley McChrystal.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, indicated Admiral Mullen had an idea what the request would be, but wanted to receive the official document in person and hear details directly from General McChrystal. The official could not say specifically how many troops the general wants.
Analysts have said the request could be in the range of 40,000 troops, on top of increases President Barack Obama authorized earlier in the year, which are moving the U.S. troop level to 68,000.
There has been tremendous interest in the impending request since General McChrystal's secret assessment of the Afghanistan situation was published Monday by The Washington Post. It paints a grim picture and says the allied mission could fail without more resources. The assessment has become part of a broad Afghanistan strategy review the president has ordered, involving senior civilian and military officials.
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The Pentagon press secretary, Geoff Morrell, and that the general would present a range of options, discuss the risks associated with each, and conclude with a specific recommendation. But he said it will not become part of the strategy review.
"Once he has it, he intends to hold on to it until such time as the president and his national security team are ready to consider it," said the press secretary.
Morrell said there is "no sense in complicating" the strategic review by inserting the troop request.
The military official who spoke to VOA Friday said a sense of the "manpower needs" would be a component of the strategy review, but that the goals of the Afghanistan mission and what approach will be used to achieve them is the focus of discussions for now.
The strategy review is expected to be completed in the coming weeks, and to be followed by a decision on General McChrystal's troop request.