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Bad timing for Obama on any troop buildup in Afghanistan

Drumbeat of opposition grows louder as antiwar movement looks to ramp up in the fall – and as some in Congress start talking of planning for the US exit.

Senior Airman Shaun Thomas in Goldsboro, N.C., spends a few moments alone shortly before deploying to Afghanistan, in this Aug. 30 photo.

Greg Sousa/ News-Argus/ AP

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The commanding American general in Afghanistan is expected to follow up soon on his review of the war there by asking for additional troops and other resources – a request that could hardly come at a worse time for President Obama.

Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal is likely to seek from two to four additional brigades – or as many as 20,000 more US soldiers beyond the 65,000 already in Afghanistan – as part of a “revised strategy” to better protect the Afghan population and accelerate the training of Afghan security forces, sources at the Pentagon and elsewhere say.

But such a request will come amid signs of faltering domestic support for the Afghanistan effort and as Mr. Obama, facing a worrisome overall erosion of public confidence, hopes to focus attention on his drive for healthcare reform.

Growing doubts about the US commitment in Afghanistan and noisy opposition to the war may be the last things the White House needs, but increasingly that looks to be what the administration is going to get.

• The antiwar movement, deflated by a quieter Iraq and the programmed withdrawal of US forces there, plans to ramp up public opposition to the Afghanistan war this fall.


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