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Obama faces critical decision on how to proceed in Afghanistan

There’s debate within his own administration over sending more troops to Afghanistan at a time when casualties mount and many Americans grow weary of the war.

U.S Gen. Stanley McChrystal, center, is welcomed by German Brigadier General Joerg Vollmer, right, outside Kunduz, Afghanistan, Saturday, Sept. 5. General McChrystal says another 40,000 US troops are needed to achieve his goals there. Increasingly, however, Americans are opposed to a troop increase that would bring total US forces in Afghanistan to more than 100,000.

Anja Niedringhaus/AP

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The United States -- and in particular the Obama administration -- is at a critical point in deciding how to proceed with the eight-year war in Afghanistan.

Public opinion polls show waning support for the war, generally tied to two things: Evidence of corruption in Afghanistan’s recent election, and especially American military casualties there. Five more US troops were killed on Thursday and Friday, bringing total casualties to 36 this month and 218 for the year.

Meanwhile, senior military officials are pondering Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s expected request for an additional 40,000 troops, which would bring the total number of US troops there to about 105,000. (In addition, some 38,000 allied troops are in the country.)

General McChrystal, the top American commander in Afghanistan, met in Germany Friday with Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen and other senior officers including Gen. David H. Petraeus, chief of U.S. Central Command, and Adm. James Stavridis, the supreme allied commander for NATO.

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