Asia Crisis

U.S. Gen. Casey: more troops needed for Afghanistan

(Updates with background, quotes)

WASHINGTON, Nov 8 (Reuters) - General George Casey, Army chief of staff, on Sunday became the latest U.S. military official to advocate sending more troops to Afghanistan as President Barack Obama nears a decision on a new strategy.

General Stanley McChrystal, the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, has recommended a 40,000-troop increase, but Casey would not comment on how many additional troops were needed.

"I believe that we need to put additional forces into Afghanistan to give General McChrystal the ability to both dampen the successes of the Taliban while we train the Afghan civilian forces," Casey said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

Obama is wrapping up deliberations on war strategy and is considering Pentagon options that include sending about 30,000 more troops, officials said on Saturday.

A decision to send more troops to Afghanistan could become a political liability for Obama with public support eroding for the war.

Military leaders have said the repeated long combat deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan have put a strain on the U.S. armed forces.

"The Army remains out of balance. But we started in 2007 with a program to get ourselves back in balance by 2011. And since 2007, we have added 40,000 soldiers to the active force, which is a significant step forward," Casey said on CNN's "State of the Union."

Reporting by Tabassum Zakaria and Will Dunham; Editing by Jackie Frank