WASHINGTON - With American public opinion rapidly turning against the Afghan war, President Barack Obama has asked the Pentagon for more options on troop levels in Afghanistan including sending less than the roughly 40,000 new soldiers requested, The Washington Post said on Saturday. Citing two unnamed US officials, the newspaper said the request came at Obamas meeting with the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the White House on Friday. There were no decisions made and I dont have a sense of the timeline for when such a decision will be made. Thats obviously the presidents purview and his alone, said a senior Defence official, who asked not to be named. Another US official said that Obamas exhaustive, weeks-long review process was reaching an end and a decision on future strategy and troop numbers was approaching, but that the president would not be rushed. The military chiefs have been largely supportive of a resource request by General Stanley McChrystal, the top US and NATO commander in Afghanistan, that would by one Pentagon estimate require the deployment of 44,000 extra troops, it said. But opinion among members of Obamas national security team is divided, and he now appears to be seeking a compromise solution that would satisfy both his military and civilian advisers, the paper said. Obama is expected to receive several options from the Pentagon about troop levels next week, The Post noted. Reuters/AFP add: McChrystals review had said the war was deteriorating and he recommended as many as 40,000 more US troops for Afghanistan along with a major effort to train Afghan security forces and improve relations with Afghan civilians. Well go through the region and talk about General McChrystals assessment, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters as the talks began. And as we talk about the assessment, Im sure the resource request will be part of that discussion. Asked if Obamas review was drawing to an end, Gibbs said: I think its nearing its conclusion, yes. He left unclear whether Obama would announce his new plan immediately after Afghanistans November 7 presidential election runoff or wait until after he returns from a November 11-20 Asia trip. Fridays session was the first chance the president had to listen to the chiefs directly after reading their written endorsements. The Defence official described the session as productive and said Obama asked a lot of questions. The military leaders had ample time to express their views of McChrystals assessment, the official said. The president has dismissed charges from some conservatives, such as former Vice President Dick Cheney, that he has been dithering over what to do about the 8-year-old war while a Taliban offensive has continued apace and US casualties have increased. Before meeting the generals, Obama took a late night trip on Thursday to Dover air force base in Delaware on his Marine One helicopter to witness the return home of Americans killed in the war. It was a sobering reminder of the extraordinary sacrifices that our young men and women in uniform are engaging in every single day, Obama said. Obviously the burden that both our troops and our families bear in any wartime situation is going to bear on how I see these conflicts. And it is something that I think about each and every day. Vice President Joe Biden defended Obama from the dithering accusation, telling CNN that Obama is doing exactly what any president should do. I like Dick Cheney personally but I really dont care what Dick Cheney thinks. And Im not sure a lot of Americans do. ... Look at the policy of neglect they left us in Afghanistan, he said. One option, potentially more palatable for Obama and his Democrats, would add about 10,000 to 15,000 troops. A large portion of these would be focused on increasing the training of Afghan forces, a top priority for Obamas Democratic allies in Congress. Currently, there are about 67,000 US troops and 42,000 allied forces in Afghanistan. Afghanistan expert Max Boot, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations think tank, urged Obama to follow McChrystals advice on troop numbers. General McChrystal has presented a very compelling counter-insurgency strategy that to be resourced requires a minimum of 40,000 troops, Boot said. Unfortunately, the leaks coming out of the White House are that President Obama will report a much lower troop figure, Boot, who has just returned from a trip to Afghanistan, told reporters.