WASHINGTON (Reuters) - While US President Barack Obama wrestles with the idea of committing more troops to Afghanistan, a counter proposal is also on the table trim American forces and focus narrowly on counter-terrorism. It is an idea associated with Vice-President Joe Biden, and one that attracts many people who remember the morass that the Vietnam war became for the US. More resources would go towards training Afghan forces to fight their own war, and US troops would be withdrawn gradually from the firing line. Pilotless drones, already striking targets in Pakistans tribal areas, would be increasingly relied upon to hit Al-Qaedas leadership and keep them on the defensive. As a plan, it has its appeal, but it has plenty of critics too. I dont think it works, said Michael OHanlon, a military expert from the Brookings Institution. If you try to do counter-terrorism from long range then you lose the intelligence you need to carry out any intelligent strikes, because you no longer can protect the people who you need to give the good information. Drone attacks inevitably cause civilian deaths and tend to fuel radical anti-Americanism. In the long run, the US could even lose the use of air bases in the region. Enough Western support could be provided to the Afghan government to perhaps prevent another Taliban takeover of Kabul, but huge swathes of eastern and southern Afghanistan would effectively be ceded to the radical movement. The fighters would have a permanent base in the Pashtun lands straddling Pakistan and Afghanistan, with a steady source of income from the opium trade. The Heritage Foundations Lisa Curtis said any kind of scaling back in Afghanistan as a way of bowing to growing domestic opposition to the war would jeopardise security in the US. Pulling up stakes is only an option if we are willing to sit back and wait for another 9/11 terrorist attack. Hesitation over the right strategy comes as the American president faces growing opposition within his own party over how the war is going and less public tolerance for getting bogged down in what is being dubbed Obamas war. What Obama will probably end up with is a hybrid plan, said former US defence secretary William Cohen - fewer troops than the estimated 30,000 the military wants, but with more focus on routing out Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. One thing the US must do is intensify and accelerate support for more Afghan soldiers and provide intelligence to them ... and be in a supportive role, said Cohen, who runs his own consulting group. It is an idea which wins broad support, and is also being pushed hard by Democratic Sen Carl Levin, the head of the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee. Foreign troops dont win insurgencies, local troops and police do, said Christine Fair, assistant professor at Georgetown University. We need to not think about the business of kinetics - killing people - and get in the business of training up Afghans. Experts said there would probably also be more of an effort to bring in moderate elements of the Taliban while at the same time pressing the Afghan government on corruption. The longer the strategy debate drags on, the more it could cost Obama support among allies, who are also struggling to contain fatigue among their own populations about a war which began after the 2001 attacks on the US. This puts the whole international regional alliance in jeopardy and can also conversely give encouragement to our adversaries, Ryan Crocker, said, talking of the delay.