Obama Can Live With the Taliban: Reports

Goal is to weaken, but not eliminate, Taliban while taking fight to Al-Qaeda

Friday, Oct 9, 2009  |  Updated 4:39 AM EDT
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A U.S. Marine squad leader Sgt. Matthew Duquette, left, of Warrenville, Ill., with Bravo Company, 1st Battalion 5th Marines walks with Afghan National Army Lt. Hussein, during in a joint patrol in Nawa district, Helmand province, southern Afghanistan.

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President Obama and his team of advisers are coalescing on a new strategy for the war in Afghanistan that prioritizes the fight against Al-Qaeda ahead of taking on the Taliban, senior administration officials told multiple news outlets.

Obama will meet with his national security team again today to flesh out the strategy after more than six hours spent debating the war the past several days, The Washington Post reports. At issue has been whether to send up to 40,000 American troops to join the already 68,000 there in Afghanistan, as Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal has requested. During the meetings, the Obama administration has concluded that no number of troops could vanquish the Taliban, according to the Post.

 "Are they violent adversaries? Yes," one official wrote of the Taliban in an e-mail to The Los Angeles Times. "And we would not tolerate their return to power as they were before 9/11."

In general, Republicans have supported Gen. McChrystal’s troop request, while Democrats have been wary of escalating the war. A new Associated Press-GfK poll shows public support for the mission has fallen from 44 percent in July to 40 percent.

Get more: MSNBC, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post
 

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