A request from the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan for additional troops has been transferred to President Barack Obama for review and has started working its way through the military chain of command, the Pentagon said on Wednesday.

The request, which General Stanley McChrystal submitted to Defense Secretary Robert Gates last month, recommends adding up to 40,000 additional U.S. and NATO troops next year, according to congressional officials.

Obama, who has launched a review of his six-month-old counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan, has not decided on whether to send more troops as recommended by McChrystal to try to reverse gains by a resurgent Taliban, officials said.

Sending as many as 40,000 additional troops to Afghanistan could spark a backlash within the president’s own Democratic Party. U.S. and NATO casualties have risen, and public support for the eight-year-old war has eroded.

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