Gen. Stanley McChrystal says more troops and a new strategy are needed in Afghanistan as the situation there continues to get worse.
In a report leaked to the Washington Post, the top U.S. official in Afghanistan wrote that, "Although considerable effort and sacrifice have resulted in some progress, many indicators suggest the overall effort is deteriorating."
McChrystal warned that if the United States doesn't commit more troops to the war, the mission there will likely fail.
The commander's assessment comes as the White House grapples with how to better fight the Taliban and al Qaeda.
"The most important thing I wanted was us to refocus on is why we're there," President Barack Obama told ABC's "This Week" Sunday. "We're there because al Qaeda killed 3,000 Americans, and we cannot allow extremists who want to do violence to the United States to be able to operate with impunity."
There are distressing signs that the Taliban insurgency is gaining momentum. McChrystal said the enemy has become more sophisticated and now controls large swaths of the country.
McChrystal is expected to ask for a troop increase in the coming weeks and may request up to 30,000 new combat forces.
Still, the Pentagon says sending more troops is just one part of the solution.
"What's more important than the number of troops he may or may not ask for is how he intends to use them," said Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. "It should come as no surprise to anyone that he intends to use those forces under his command to protect the Afghan people."
This weekend the Taliban's reclusive leader, Mullah Omar, released an audio tape message warning the United States and coalition forces to prepare for a long war.