Violence Escalates in Afghanistan, Iraq

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A series of helicopter crashes in Afghanistan has left 14 Americans dead, even as elsewhere in Iraq, citizens there mourn the worst attack to hit the capital in more than two years.

On Sunday, two U.S. helicopters collided in the southern part of Afghanistan. Another went down in the western region.

Time Running Out?

The deadly copter crashes are the latest developments as the military awaits President Barack Obama's decision on whether to send more troops. It's an issue that remains the focus of heated debate on both side of the political aisle.

Click play for more with CBN News Military Reporter Chuck Holton.

"Republicans want very much to support the president's decision," said Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz. "And if he makes the decision along the lines that Gen. McChrystal has recommended, I believe we will do that.

"But let me read what Gen. McChrystal himself said. 'Time matters. We must act now to reverse the negative trends and demonstrate progress,'" he said.

However, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., insisted that the question of whether to send more troops was not an issue for the United States to decide alone.

"This is a NATO decision," Levin said. "Right now we have Secretary (of Defense) Gates going over to NATO, talking to NATO allies. This is not just a decision of the United States and whether to send more troops."

"President Bush took three months in considering whether or not to surge troops in Iraq," he added. "When he made a decision to surge those troops, he overruled the recommendation of his commander on the ground, Gen. Casey, who was opposed to sending in more troops at that time."

In the meantime, Obama is meeting with his national security team Monday. It will be his sixth full-scale Afghanistan conference in the White House situation room.

The meeting comes as that country prepares for next week's presidential runoff. The president isn't likely to make a decision about a troop increase until after those elections.

Worst Attack in Years

Meanwhile, in Iraq, the impact of the worst suicide bombing in more than two years is still being felt.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki visited the site this weekend where two suicide bombings in downtown Baghdad left at least 150 people dead.

This comes after a year where violence dramatically fell in the country following the American-led military surge and as American troops are preparing for their eventual withdrawal.

Many are now asking if Iraqi troops can handle the nation's security.

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Efrem Graham is an award-winning journalist, who comes to CBN News from the ABC owned and operated station in Toledo, Ohio.  He received his master's degree from the Columbia University Journalism School. He also holds a bachelor's degree in English Literature from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.  Follow Efrem on Twitter @EfremGraham and "like" him at Facebook.com/EfremGrahamCBN.