Obama: Exit timeline sends Afghan gov't a message

AP News
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Posted: Dec 01, 2009 8:26 PM

President Barack Obama says he wants a tight timeframe for the escalation of U.S. forces in Afghanistan and their eventual drawdown.

Answering criticism that setting a deadline only gives the enemy a reason to wait, Obama says not having one sends the wrong message to the Afghan government.

Obama laid out an 18-month escalation plan Tuesday, and said he rejects something more open-ended.

In a national address at the U.S. Military Academy, Obama said a longer horizon would commit the United States to a nation-building project that is too lengthy and unaffordable.

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And he said the shorter horizon tells the Afghans that they must begin to shoulder the fight.