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Lt. Col. Jeffery French, with the 5th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division based at Forward Operating Base Ramrod, told The Times that despite the need for more resources, his brigade has been gathering a better picture of who the enemy actually is, “building a picture that consists of the good, the bad and the Corleone.”

Another military official in Afghanistan, who spoke to The Times on the condition of anonymity owing to the sensitive nature of the president’s upcoming decision, said military officials are concerned about the length of time the White House has taken to decide.

“This is a special-operations war as much as it is a war of troops on the ground,” the military official said. “The president’s decision will be just that - his decision - but the amount of time it’s taking to make that decision is detrimental to the troops who need help out there now. We are finding new ways to fight the Taliban, but we really don’t have the necessary resources and, honestly, we’re not utilizing the resources we have in the right way.”

Despite the difficult challenges that Capt. Thoreen and his men see ahead of them in the next seven months of their deployment, he said, “We can’t forget the people who’ve already lost their lives here.”

“To us, they’re not just numbers; they’re our friends,” the commander said.

“We can make a difference. … Why is there even a debate to send more troops out here? It’s what we really need. We need more troops.”