Adam Entous and Phil Stewart

Wednesday, Oct 7th, 2009

The Obama administration is strongly considering a war strategy that incorporates at least some additional forces in Afghanistan alongside a stepped up campaign against al Qaeda and Taliban targets in Pakistan.

The Pentagon says Defense Secretary Robert Gates, a key player, is undecided about next steps.

But he has publicly said many of his earlier reservations about adding forces have been addressed and remains a strong proponent of counter-insurgency strategy, signals that he may be leaning toward a further buildup.

Combining an expanded counterinsurgency campaign in Afghanistan with more counterterrorism operations inside Pakistan’s tribal areas would be consistent with the administration’s existing strategy, launched in March.

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