Senior Pentagon military officers conducted a secret war game this month to evaluate the two primary military options considered under a broad White House review of the Afghan war, The Washington Post reported Monday. Citing unnamed senior military officials, the newspaper said Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen led the exercise himself. Both options were drawn from a detailed analysis prepared by General Stanley McChrystal, the senior commander in Afghanistan, and were forwarded to President Obama in recent weeks by Defence Secretary Robert Gates. The game examined the likely outcome of sending 44,000 more troops into the country to conduct a full-scale counterinsurgency effort aimed at building a stable Afghan government that can control most of the country, the report said. But it also examined adding 10,000 to 15,000 more soldiers and Marines as part of an approach that the military has dubbed "counterterrorism plus," the newspaper noted. The Pentagon war game did not formally endorse either course, The Post reported. Instead, it tried to gauge how Taliban fighters, the Afghan and Pakistani governments and NATO allies might react to either of the scenarios, the paper pointed out. Mullen has discussed its conclusions with senior White House officials. One of the exercise's key assumptions was that an increase of 10,000 to 15,000 troops would not in the near future give US commanders the forces they need to take back havens from the Taliban commanders in southern and western Afghanistan, The Post said. "We were running out the options and trying to understand the implications from many different perspectives, including the enemy and the Afghan people," the newspaper quotes one senior military official as saying. The Obama administration initiated a major review of its war strategy in late September after questions emerged about the legitimacy of the Aug. 20 Afghan elections, which were marred by allegations of widespread fraud, and a troubling update on the progress of the war by McChrystal. He warned that unless the United States moved quickly to wrest momentum from the Taliban, defeating the insurgency in Afghanistan might no longer be possible. What was intended to be two or three weeks of intensive White House meetings has stretched on for almost a month. Obama and his national security advisers have sorted through the military and civilian aspects of the war, building toward a decision that many on the outside have urged be made sooner rather than later.