Despite five war councils in two weeks, President Barack Obama has so far failed to come up with a strategy for the conflict that may define his presidency. Fierce infighting continues between his own generals and advisers.
Obama has been handed three options by General Stanley McChrystal, commander of the US forces in Afghanistan.
These range from 20,000 to 60,000 more troops, which would almost double the US military presence. McChrystal is said to favour an increase of 40,000 men, without which he warns the mission will fail.
The White House is uneasy about sending so many on top of an extra 21,000 already dispatched this year, fearing this could escalate the war which has already claimed the lives of 241 American soldiers this year.