November 25th, 2009
05:22 PM ET

Getting the troops to Afghanistan

Officials say it will take months to get more troops into Afghanistan because of the lack of roads and other infrastructure, CNN's Elaine Quijano reports.

"I anticipate that as soon as the president makes his decision, we can probably begin flowing in some forces pretty quickly after that," U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said. "But it is a bigger challenge than certainly was the case in Iraq."

Watch the full report from CNN's Elaine Quijano.

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Filed under: Decision: Afghanistan
November 25th, 2009
05:21 PM ET

U.S. faces 'absolute defeat,' Taliban leader purportedly says

(CNN) - The United States and its allies are facing "an absolute defeat" against the Taliban in Afghanistan even if additional troops are sent, according to a message purportedly from the Taliban's elusive leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar.

In a transcript of the message posted Wednesday on the Afghan jihadi online magazine Al-Somod, the Taliban leader purportedly says the "realities in Afghanistan are simple."

"You and your allies are facing an absolute defeat, and nothing will change that even if you send more troops, no matter what your strategies are, because the logic of force will have no impact on the mujahedeen and you will never be able to control the Afghan people by physical force or by your satanic hypocrisy," the transcript says.

CNN could not independently confirm the authenticity of the report, which appeared in Arabic and in Pashtun.

Read the full story

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Filed under: Daily Developments • Decision: Afghanistan • Taliban
November 25th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

iReporters share passionate views

As President Obama's decision on Afghanistan troop levels approaches, iReporters have been sharing passionate views, starting an ongoing conversation on what the U.S. strategy should be going forward.

Watch more viewpoints from CNN iReporters or share your story

Some like Katy Brown of Kent, Ohio, have said that more troops should be sent there because that is what the generals have requested. Others, like Jose Colon of San Juan, Puerto Rico, believe that the U.S. has other priorities to deal with at home and the troops should be brought home. Hao Li of Los Angeles says that there should be less of a military focus in Afghanistan, and a shift towards winning the hearts and minds of the populace.

November 25th, 2009
02:42 PM ET

UK 'optimistic' on more Afghan troops

(CNN) - British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is "optimistic" that other countries will contribute more troops to the mission in Afghanistan, he told the head of NATO in a letter this week.

Brown told NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen that cabinet ministers and senior officials recently met with 10 "key coalition partners" about increased troop commitments in 2010. He did not name the countries.

"Following these meetings and contacts, I am now optimistic that a majority of these countries will indeed make available increased numbers of troops, and more police trainers and civilian support," he wrote in a letter dated Tuesday.

Brown said he plans to invite Britain's key NATO allies to London in January to assess progress on Afghanistan, including the handing over of Afghan districts to local control.

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Filed under: Daily Developments • Decision: Afghanistan
November 25th, 2009
01:33 PM ET

Obama's speech to be at West Point on Tuesday

Washington (CNN) - President Obama will announce the U.S. troop strategy for Afghanistan in a speech at 8 p.m. ET Tuesday at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Wednesday.

The Pentagon was making detailed plans to send about 34,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan in anticipation of Obama's decision on the future of the 8-year-old war, a defense official said Tuesday.

Obama held a lengthy meeting with top advisers Monday night and said Tuesday that he would announce plans for Afghanistan after the Thanksgiving holiday.

Read the full story

November 25th, 2009
09:41 AM ET

Debating Afghanistan strategy

Sources say that on Tuesday, President Obama will announce his decision on Afghanistan. Explore three different takes on the upcoming decision by:  Gen. Wesley Clark, former NATO Supreme Allied commander; Matthew Hoh, a former State Department official who resigned in protest over the U.S. policy in Afghanistan; and Tom Cotton of Vets for Freedom, an organization of combat veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They were guests on "Larry King Live." FULL POST

Filed under: Decision: Afghanistan • Obama • Pakistan • Voices
November 25th, 2009
09:24 AM ET

Retired general: Pakistan determined to fight Taliban

(CNN) - The Pakistani people now believe the war against the Taliban is their war, whereas in the past they considered it to be the United States' war, a former Pakistani general with close ties to his country's military told CNN's Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday.

Retired Lt. Gen. Talat Masood, who also was an official in the Pakistani Ministry of Defense, told Amanpour, "I think the Pakistani army and the people of Pakistan are truly determined to fight this war and win."

"Under no circumstances do they think that there is any future for Pakistan unless this succeeds, so they are fighting for their future rather than anything else," he said.

Read the full story from CNN's Tom Evans