Wednesday, July 15, 2009

US Exit Strategy from Afghanistan

WASHINGTON, July 14: President Barack Obama said on Tuesday “all of us” wanted an effective exit strategy from Afghanistan in which Afghan authorities were able to take more responsibilities. Mr Obama made the comment after talks with Netherlands Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende that centred on the current situation in Afghanistan as well as the global economy and climate change.

“All of us want to see an effective exit strategy where increasingly the Afghan army, Afghan police, Afghan courts, Afghan government are taking more responsibility for their own security,” Mr Obama said.

Around 4,000 US Marines and hundreds of Nato and Afghan forces are taking part in an offensive in various parts of Helmand province against the Taliban, the biggest by foreign troops since they ousted the Islamist militia in 2001. The operation comes ahead of next month’s presidential election, which is crucial both for Kabul and for a US administration that has identified Afghanistan and neighbouring Pakistan as its top foreign policy priority.

“If we can get through a successful election in September and we continue to apply the training approach to the Afghan security forces and we combine that with a much more effective approach to economic development inside Afghanistan, then my hope is that we will be able to begin transitioning into a different phase in Afghanistan,” Mr Obama said.

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