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Obama bolsters Afghan force by 30,000

Article published on the 2009-12-02 Latest update 2009-12-02 12:54 TU

Barack Obama greets cadets at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point(Photo: Reuters)

Barack Obama greets cadets at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point
(Photo: Reuters)

US President Barack Obama has announced the decision to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan. He included a pledge to start withdrawing US forces in July 2011 as part of the new fast-track war strategy.

The President spoke before cadets at the US Military Academy at West Point. Although he admitted that the situation in Afghanistan had moved against US wishes for the past few years, he promised that his decision to send additional troops did not signal a conflict without end.

“As Commander in Chief, I have determined that it is in our vital national interests to send an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan,” he said.

“After 18 months, our troops will begin to come home.”

Central to the new strategy will be support for Afghan efforts to persuade Al-Qaeda defectors to lay down arms and enter politics.

Obama warned Afghan President Hamid Karzai that Washington will take a tougher stance against corruption. Karzai promised that improving security in the country will be a top priority when he took office in November for a further five years of the presidency.

Pakistan also received praise from the US President for its ramped-up efforts to stem home-grown extremism.

“We will act with the full recognition that our success in Afghanistan is inextricably linked to our partnership with Pakistan,” said Obama.

The US President called for his Nato allies to send more troops, ahead of a Nato meeting on Friday in Brussels.

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