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Obama Consults With Biden, Clinton on Afghanistan


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U.S. President Barack Obama has held another high-level strategy session on Afghanistan, as he reviews the U.S. approach to the war there and considers whether to send more troops.

President Obama met Thursday with Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the White House. One day earlier -- on the eighth anniversary of the war, the president met with his senior military and political advisers for a review that focused on Afghanistan's neighbor, Pakistan, a key component of Mr. Obama's strategy.

U.S. casualties in Afghanistan have risen sharply in recent months amid more aggressive operations against the Taliban and other militant groups. Opinion polls show the war is steadily losing support among the American public.

Meanwhile, the White House says President Obama spoke with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown Thursday to discuss the ongoing review. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs says the two leaders agreed to remain in close consultation, and underscored the importance of working closely with their allies and Afghan and Pakistani partners.

Separately, the White House confirmed Wednesday that Mr. Obama received a request from General Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, for additional troops.

General McChrystal has warned that the United States could lose the war if more troops are not deployed to Afghanistan. He is said to be calling for as many as 40,000 extra troops.

But administration officials suggest Mr. Obama is considering a "middle ground" between McChrystal's request and a proposal that would narrowly focus military efforts on al-Qaida militants.

The proposal, credited to Vice President Biden, calls for an increase in air strikes against al-Qaida targets using unmanned Predator drones and special forces, while keeping U.S. troops at current levels.

Mr. Obama will meet with national security officials on Friday.