President Obama gives go-ahead to implement Afghanistan strategy

President Obama gives go-ahead to implement Afghanistan strategy

President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaBiden, Harris tear into Trump in first joint appearance The Hill's 12:30 Report: Biden, Harris's first day as running mates It's Harris — and we're not surprised MORE has already ordered his military commanders to implement his Afghanistan strategy, which will be unveiled to the nation in a primetime address from West Point on Tuesday.

Obama is expected to order another 34,000 troops to Afghanistan during the address from the United States Military Academy, though a White House spokesman refused to confirm that figure Monday morning.

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White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Obama had been consulting with members of Congress on Monday and will continue to do so Tuesday. Obama is set to meet with a bipartisan, bicameral group of at least 31 lawmakers at the White House on Tuesday afternoon before he leaves for West Point.

Obama was also spending Monday and Tuesday briefing world leaders on his new strategy. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who was informed of the decision by phone Sunday night, will travel to Europe later this week to meet with NATO allies.


Obama spent much of the weekend working on his remarks to the nation with Ben Rhodes, his top national security speechwriter.

Gibbs declined to divulge much of what Obama will tell the country, but Gibbs emphasized that the president will make it clear to the American people, U.S. allies and Afghans that “this is not an open-ended commitment.”

Obama delivered marching orders during a Sunday Oval Office meeting with Defense Secretary Robert Gates; commander of U.S. Central Command Gen. David Petraeus; National Security Adviser Gen. James Jones; Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen; Gen. James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs; and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

“The commander in chief delivered the orders,” Gibbs said.

After issuing his orders in the Oval Office, Obama held a secure video conference with U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan Gen. Stanley McChrystal and the U.S. ambassador to the country, Karl Eikenberry, from the White House situation room, Gibbs said.

Congressional Democrats are deeply divided on how to pay for the increased involvement in Afghanistan, and Gibbs declined to say if Obama was discussing that point of contention with lawmakers.

Gibbs did say that Obama will acknowledge in his address that there are "limits on our resources," both budgetary and in terms of manpower, and that Obama will lay out objectives for the increased troop presence in the country.

As officials have debated whether to target al Qaeda and the Taliban, Gibbs did not appear to draw much of a distinction, saying that a goal of the strategy will be to ensure that “the Taliban are not capable of providing a safe haven for al Qaeda” like they did before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Obama will also stress that the U.S. will lay out “benchmarks for progress” for the Afghan government for the training of Afghan security personnel and for eliminating government corruption.