"This is where Al Qaida is based. Not just in Afghanistan, it's clear that they're based in Pakistan," Rahm Emanuel, the White House Chief of Staff, told the CNN in an interview.
"What is the relationship between the Taliban? Are there different grades of a Taliban? That is what the analysis is going on in the situation room, and I think the comfort for the American people is the president will not be rushed to making a decision without asking firm questions and challenging the assumptions behind those questions," Emanuel said.
Five such meetings each spreading over three hours have been held so far and more are scheduled for the next two weeks, he said.
"The first part of this discussion, has been about the fact that, where are we, what is the context, what is the assumptions built into this? One of the things that has been analyzed in all this is that, you know, and people would like to reduce this down and would like the luxury that, you know, send more troops, as if that's all that it takes," he said.
The decision, he said, is much more complex rather than on just one issue sending more troops to Afghanistan. "This is a much more complex decision. Even the general's own report and General Petraeus' own analysis says the question, the real partner here is not how much troops you have, but whether in fact there's an Afghan partner," he continued.
"And when you go through all the analysis, it's clear that basically we had a war for eight years that was going on, that's adrift. That we're beginning at scratch, and just from the starting point, after eight years. And there's not a security force, an army, the type of services that are important for the Afghans to become a true partner," he said.