President Obama will not withdraw troops from the increasingly violent war being waged in Afghanistan, the White House announced Monday just days after the one of the deadliest attacks of the nearly decade-long war killed eight American troops in the region.
"I don't think we have the option to leave. That's quite clear," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said as intense political pressure mounted around the president to make a decision on whether he'd send more troops to Afghanistan.
Obama added 21,000 U.S. troops to the war earlier this year and could soon decide to send tens of thousands more. That decision will take weeks, the White House has confirmed.
"It is important that we take our time to do all we can to get this right," Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Monday. "I believe that the decisions that the president will make for the next stage of the Afghanistan campaign will be among the most important of his presidency," Gates said.
The president will also sit down with Republican and Democratic leaders in Congress Tuesday to confer about the war, the White House announced Monday.
Eight U.S. troops were killed this weekend in a Taliban attack that overwhelmed U.S. forces in a remote outpost near Pakistan.
68,000 troops are currently in Afghanistan, and Obama's top Afghanistan commander has appealed for as many as 40,000 more to be sent to the region.
Get more: MSNBC