WASHINGTON (AFP) - The White House on Monday promised that President Barack Obama would "shortly" make a decision on whether to pour thousands more US troops into the Afghan war. Spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters aboard Air Force One as Obama returned to Washington from a weekend in Chicago that the decision, the subject of intense speculation here, was still expected soon. "I don't think it will go, without getting into broad timelines, I don't think this is anything that involves weeks," Gibbs said. Politico.com earlier reported that the president was refusing to be rushed into making a decision on the expected deployment, in what it said was a sign he may be more "independent minded" than military leaders had expected. In several leaks to newspapers in recent weeks, military leaders have said that they expected a decision to be finalized within days. "This is the first time that this president has been asked to deploy large numbers of troops overseas, and it seems to me a thoughtful and deliberative approach to that decision is entirely appropriate," Defense Secretary Robert Gates said last week. "The president will have several options before him," Gates told reporters, referring to the US-led effort to stabilize Afghanistan over the past seven years. "And I think he will make those decisions probably in the course of the next few days." Gates said he had made his recommendations to the president, and that the options under consideration "give him several ways of going forward." The US commander in Afghanistan, Gen David McKiernan, has requested up to 30,000 additional troops, including three more combat brigades and an aviation brigade and support troops. If they are approved for deployment, it would nearly double the size of the US force. Gates has said the combat brigades could be in Afghanistan by mid-summer, the season when insurgent attacks and military operations surge. Meanwhile, Germany plans to send 600 more soldiers to Afghanistan to help provide security for presidential elections in August, a NATO diplomat said Monday. The troops, who add to around 3,500 German personnel already in Afghanistan, will arrive six weeks before the polls and remain until after any possible second round of voting is held in September, the diplomat said. The polls will be a key test of President Hamid Karzai's rule as well as seven-year-old US and NATO-led efforts to help stabilise Afghanistan and spread the rule of its weak central government across the strife-torn country. Those efforts have been undermined by a Taliban-led insurgency entrenched in southern and eastern regions. Germany, which has been criticised for not sending troops to those regions, has its personnel deployed in the relatively quiet north of the country. The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) comprises more than 51,000 troops from some 40 nations. Last month, NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer appealed for 10,000 more soldiers to bolster security for the elections.