- The Washington Times - Friday, March 27, 2009

KABUL (AP) - Afghanistan’s president welcomed the new strategy President Barack Obama unveiled Friday for dealing with the worsening conflict in his country, saying the plan increased the chances of successfully facing the rising threat from Taliban and al-Qaida militants.

President Hamid Karzai said Obama’s plan to strengthen Afghanistan’s security forces by providing an additional 4,000 troops to train the country’s army and police would benefit both his country and the region.

Obama said Friday that the U.S. would also send hundreds of additional civilians to Afghanistan in order “to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al-Qaida in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and to prevent their return to either country in the future.”

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Karzai said in a statement that the new strategy “will bring Afghanistan and the international community closer to success.”

U.S.-led forces toppled the Taliban government in Afghanistan in 2001, but many members of the militant group fled to Pakistan, where they have been staging cross-border attacks against Afghan and international troops.

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