Obama, McChrystal Chat on Air Force One

In this June 2, 2009 file photo, Lt. Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, then President Obama's nominee to be commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File
President Barack Obama summoned his top commander in Afghanistan to a 25-minute meeting aboard Air Force One before returning to Washington.

The president and Gen. Stanley McChrystal discussed U.S. strategy in Afghanistan, CBS News correspondent Peter Maer reports.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs says Mr. Obama invited McChrystal to meet him Friday in the Danish capital, where the U.S. president was talking to the International Olympic Committee about a bid to hold the games in Chicago.

In a speech Thursday in London, McChrystal said conventional tactics, including the focus on force protection, has prevented Western troops from convincing Afghans that the U.S.-led coalition forces are on their side and are committed for the long haul. He said the military must change the way it operates or face defeat.

"At the end of the day we don't win by destroying the Taliban," he said at the prestigious International Institute for Strategic Studies think tank. "We don't win by body count. We don't win by the number of successful military raids or attacks. We win when the people decide we win."

CBSNews.com Special Report: Afghanistan

The blunt four-star general has made waves in Washington and London with his downbeat assessment of the eight-year effort to keep Afghanistan from becoming - again - a safe haven for Taliban extremists and their al Qaeda allies, who used it as a base while planning the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington.

With the support of top Pentagon officials, McChrystal is seeking a substantial number of additional troops for the war effort. He said Thursday that more troops would "buy time" as Afghan military and police forces are improved with an eye toward taking control of security by 2013.

But it is not clear if Mr. Obama backs this plan. He has begun a series of at least five top-level meetings to review all policy options, including those recommended by McChrystal. There are signs of a split among Obama's top advisers, with some concerned about plummeting public support for a prolonged conflict.

McChrystal said the war is vital because there is a "huge risk" that the Taliban insurgency could again make the country safe for al Qaeda's leadership.

"We went there to destroy al Qaeda, and to a great degree that has happened," he said. "Now we are preventing its return."