From Reuters: Several of Obama’s top national security and military advisers, including Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have coalesced around two final options — deploying 30,000 to nearly 40,000 additional troops to Afghanistan, officials say.

If bolstered by trainers from NATO allies, these two options would largely give McChrystal the 40,000 additional troops that he recommended to try to stem Taliban gains.

At that level, McChrystal estimates, he would be able to focus on securing Afghan population centers and would have some additional resources to move against Taliban and al Qaeda fighters in outlying areas, officials said.

Discussions have focused on sending two additional brigades, totaling between 10,000 to 15,000 troops, to southern Afghanistan around Kandahar, a key Taliban stronghold.

Another brigade was also likely to be added in eastern Afghanistan near the border with Pakistan. (photo: Pete Souza/AP)