There is a little support in Congress for sending more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, the top Democrat in the House of Representatives said on Thursday, indicating possible trouble ahead for President Barack Obama.
"I don't think there's a great deal of support for sending more troops to Afghanistan, in the country or in the Congress," U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said at a news conference.
Obama may decide in the coming weeks whether to expand the size of the U.S. military force in Afghanistan to boost invasion has continues since late 2001.
Pelosi is the most senior Democrat to suggest that any move by the White House or Pentagon to send more troops to Afghanistan may face stern opposition in the legislature.
A troop increase could make U.S. congressional Democrats nervous at a time when many of them already face tough prospects in next year's midterm elections.
The U.S. Congress has a full plate of difficult legislative business even before possible decisions on U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan, including legislation aimed at overhauling the U.S. healthcare system and a complicated climate-change bill.
A formal assessment of the war from U.S. Army General Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, is widely expected to set the stage for a request by the military for more troops.
Pelosi said she had not yet seen this assessment, which was sent to the Pentagon last week.
"I hope that we will be briefed on the McChrystal (report) when the president receives it," she said. "Perhaps next week we will see that."
No decision "yet"
Jim Moran, a Democratic member of the US congress, said "the majority of Democrats will continue to support President Obama, but that's not to say we're going to continue on the course in which we're going".
"Right now we need a better strategy … It is clear that Afghanistan does not lend itself to a military victory, it's about economic development, it's about building civil society. The military presence clearly is a problem in itself," he said.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Obama had not yet made a decision on whether to commit additional U.S. troops.
"The president will make a decision based on what he thinks is in the best national security interests of this country," Gibbs said.
The United States is on track nearly to double its troops in Afghanistan to 68,000 by the end of this year. Other nations, mainly NATO allies, have another 38,000 troops in Afghanistan and have been reluctant to send more.
U.S. led NATO forces acoided international calls to prevent civilian casualties in Afghanistan.
Last week, Nato forces killed more than 70 civilians alongside around 20 Taliban figters in an air strike, condemned internationally, on a hijacked fuel tankers in a populated area in Kunduz province.
The United Nations said in February that a record 2,118 civilians were killed during US occupation in Afghanistan in 2008.
Also NATO troops killed an Afghan woman and a journalist to reach a kidnapped New York Times reporter on Wednesday, sparking harsh criticises.
US-led occupation has raised violence in Afghanistan, has angered residents and increased pressure on Hamid Karzai, the country's president.