23 Sep 2010

White House divided on Afgan strategy - Woodward

6:10 am on 23 September 2010

A new book to be published in the United States says President Barack Obama's senior aides are deeply divided over America's strategy in Afghanistan.

Obama's War, written by journalist Bob Woodward, says the sceptics include the US special representative to the region, Richard Holbrooke.

He's quoted as saying the military surge in Afghanistan won't work.

Parts of the book have been leaked by the New York Times.

In one excerpt, Mr Holbrooke sums up US policy by saying: "It can't work."

In another, President Obama tells a meeting he wants an exit strategy. He is quoted in the book as saying:

"This needs to be a plan about how we're going to hand it off and get out of Afghanistan."

A number of media outlets have had access to the book, including the Washington Post and the New York Times.

The White House has so far made no public response.

Woodward made his name exposing President Richard Nixon's cover-up of Watergate and more recently wrote a searing account of President George W Bush and the Iraq war.