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Obama not interested in long-term presence in Afghanistan

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WASHINGTON: U.S. President Barack Obama has said that the United States is not interested in keeping a long-term military presence in Afghanistan. “We have no interest or aspiration to be there over the long term,” Obama said in an interview with PBS News TV network. He also said the U.S. lost focus on its goals in Afghanistan and his administration must set clear policy objectives before coming up with a plan to bring American troops home.

Obama, who earlier in the day outlined plans for withdrawing combat forces from Iraq, said there has been a “sense of drift in the mission in Afghanistan” and the United States must work with allies to help the country develop economically and not be a safe haven for terrorists.

The president said one of his objectives when he attends an April meeting of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization will be to discuss how to “move the ball forward” in Afghanistan. Obama last week decided to send 17,000 additional U.S. combat and support troops to Afghanistan, but a complete review of Afghan strategy hasn’t been finished.-SANA

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