This article and headline incorrectly said that President Obama planned to announce the deployment of 34,000 additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan. Obama plans to send 30,000 additional U.S. troops to the country, administration officials said.
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Obama to send 34,000 troops to Afghanistan
Strategy objectives, Brown said, also include encouraging "a new set of relationships between Afghanistan and its neighbors, based on their guarantee of non-interference in Afghanistan's affairs," increased economic and cultural links, and "immediate confidence-building security measures."
Obama has offered Pakistan an expanded strategic partnership, while insisting that Pakistani troops take action against al-Qaeda and Afghan Taliban sanctuaries in that country. Coalition and Afghan efforts, Brown said, "must be matched by actions not simply to isolate but defeat al-Qaeda within Pakistan."
After months of deliberations, Obama informed senior war advisers Sunday evening of his decision in an Oval Office meeting attended by Vice President Biden; national security adviser James L. Jones; Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates; Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Gen. James E. Cartwright, the vice chairman; Gen. David H. Petraeus, head of U.S. Central Command; and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. Obama also telephoned Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and spoke with McChrystal and Karl W. Eikenberry, the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, and ordered ground commanders to begin carrying out his plan.
On Monday, the president began a carefully orchestrated strategy rollout with calls to allied leaders, including Brown, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Danish Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. He met at the White House with Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who increased the Australian contingent in Afghanistan to more than 1,500 troops this year.
Gibbs said Obama would also brief Karzai and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari before delivering his address, as well as the leaders of India, China, Poland and Germany.
Before he departs for West Point late Tuesday afternoon, Obama is scheduled to meet with congressional leaders to discuss his plan. Gibbs said that so far, a "bipartisan, bicameral" group of legislators, numbering 31, has been invited to the White House, representing the committees that would consider Obama's Afghan strategy and the funding request to pay for it.
Clinton, Gates, Mullen and Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the Army chief of staff, will accompany Obama to West Point, and Clinton, Gates and Mullen will testify on the strategy in four congressional hearings Wednesday and Thursday. Next week, Petraeus will testify with Richard C. Holbrooke, the administration's special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, followed by joint congressional appearances by McChrystal and Eikenberry.
Gibbs said that he did "not have anything conclusive" on how Obama intends to pay for the escalation and that it would not be detailed in the speech.
Equally uncertain is the likelihood that NATO and other allies will contribute additional troops to a war that is deeply unpopular in Europe. Britain has authorized 9,500 troops; France has 3,750 on the ground. Among other NATO allies with forces in Afghanistan, Canada and the Netherlands have set withdrawal dates. Clinton will leave Thursday for Brussels to brief NATO allies, and the alliance will hold a "force generation conference" next week.