Afghanistan

White House War Debate?

The question of how many troops to send to Afghanistan has the White House divided, The New York Times reports. The “healthy debate” pits Joe Biden in one corner and Richard Holbrooke in the other. The vice president has expressed deep doubts about boosting U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan, because he fears a buildup would distract from stabilizing Pakistan. Holbrooke, the special envoy to the region, sees the additional troops as essential to protecting civilians and weakening al Qaeda and the Taliban. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is expected to support additional troops, while Defense Secretary Robert Gates seemed on Thursday to reverse his earlier opposition to reinforcements. Gen. Stanley McChrystal is expected to send a troop request to President Obama in the coming weeks, and could seek between 10,000 and 45,000 additional troops.