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We must refine our goals in Afghanistan, says Obama
Lalit K Jha in Washington | March 01, 2009 21:43 IST
Highlighting the need to refine US strategy in Afghanistan where situation has "deteriorated", President Barack Obama [Images] has said the war on terrorism in that country cannot be won without an effective government there and support from Pakistan in fighting al-Qaeda and Taliban [Images].
One has to realise that the Afghan war cannot be won by military means alone, Obama said in an interview to the Pentagon [Images] Channel. This not only needs an effective government and developmental activities, but also support from Islamabad [Images] so that it can take decisive action against terrorists across the border.
"With respect to Afghanistan, I think that all of us believe that the situation has deteriorated somewhat there, and that's why I immediately made a decision for us to send additional troops, including Marines from Camp Lejeune," Obama said Saturday.
"But I also think that we've got to refine our goals and our strategy more effectively. I think in Afghanistan we've seen that strategy drift a little bit," he said. Obama said as the US commander-in-chief, he wants to make sure that he has a well thought out strategy, clear goals and that they are achievable.
The President conceded that he expects casualties of the US forces in Afghanistan as they would be engaging the terrorists in the southern parts of the country.
"The key, though, is to understand that we are not going to win in Afghanistan or get an acceptable outcome in Afghanistan if we're only dependent on our military," he said.
"... if we don't have an Afghan government that can deliver for its people; if we don't have an economic development strategy where farmers don't have to grow heroin poppy but instead can grow other crops so that they're not feeding narco-terrorism; if we don't have Pakistan providing us support on the other side of the border that cleans out some of these areas where al-Qaeda and the Taliban are using as safe havens, then this isn't going to work," Obama said.