Obama: ‘Big chunk’ of Afghan objectives have already been achieved

The United States has achieved “a big chunk” of its strategic objectives during the nearly decade-old war in Afghanistan, President Barack Obama said.

“By us killing Osama bin Laden, getting al Qaeda back on its heels, stabilizing much of the country in Afghanistan so that the Taliban can't take it over...it's now time for us to recognize that we've accomplished a big chunk of our mission and that it's time for Afghans to take more responsibility," the president said Tuesday during a television interview.

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The comments came just days before his pick to succeed Robert Gates as defense secretary, CIA director Leon Panetta, appears before the Senate Armed Services Committee for his confirmation hearing.

The remark also shines a light on the commander-in-chief’s thinking just weeks before his administration begins deliberations about how many U.S. forces to pull out of Afghanistan this year, and the shape of its war policy going forward.

Lawmakers increasingly want a sizable draw down; Pentagon officials, including Gates, are pushing a “modest” force reduction.


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