White House Split on Afghanistan Strategy

'Skeptic-in-chief' Biden challenges McChrystal's call for more troops
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 2, 2009 1:17 AM CDT
General Stanley McChrystal, commander of the US forces in Afghanistan, delivers a speech in London yesterday.   (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Gen. Stanley McChrystal's call to beef up the war effort in Afghanistan is proving a tough sell with senior administration officials.  White House advisers challenged many aspects of the commander's assessment at a meeting this week, including his belief that al-Qaeda would again find sanctuary in Afghanistan if the Taliban regains control. Joe Biden played the role of "skeptic-in-chief," one official tells the Washington Post.

A gap is widening between administration officials who side with McChrystal, and those who want to narrow the war effort to focus solely on defeating al-Qaeda. Greater stability in Pakistan and the tainted election in Afghanistan in August have changed the situation since a policy review in March concluded that the two countries were a single problem, say advisers, who expect policy discussions to continue for some time.