Amidst reports that US President, Barack Obama, would announce his new Af-Pak policy sometime between November 7, the day of Afghanistan's presidential runoff election, and November 11, the day the president is scheduled to leave for a visit to Japan, the White House has said the discussion is "getting towards the end", but remained non-committal on its announcement.
"In terms of timing, all I can do is reiterate that the decision will come in the next several weeks or in the coming weeks, as we've said," White House Press Secretary, Robert Gibbs, told reporters abroad Air Force One travelling with President Obama.
"But truthfully, I don't know when that will be. And I think the President is in the process of evaluating, as we've said, where we are, and we'll make a decision in due time," Gibbs reiterated.
Meanwhile as part of the process, Gibbs said Obama is scheduled to meet Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of the Staff, on Friday. This is part of the continuing discussions of their assessment on Afghanistan and Pakistan and gets input from other service branches on the proceedings thus far, he said.
When asked if the meeting with Mullen is one of the last pieces of the decision-making process, Gibbs said, "I think we're getting certainly toward the end of that."
However, Gibbs said, Obama will take some time after these meetings to think through what he has heard, what he has learned, and evaluate this process, both what's best for our country, what's best for Afghanistan, Pakistan, and for the region as a whole.
Obama who started the process of reviewing the US policy towards Afghanistan and Pakistan so far has had six Situation Room meetings at the White House totalling more than 17 hours, since mid-August.