Obama: Tragedy heartbreaking, firm on responsible exit
WASHINGTON (PAN): US President Barack Obama on Monday ruled out any “rush” in the exit of American troops from Afghanistan following the spate of recent incidents, including the “heartbreaking” tragedy of killing of civilians by a US soldier in Kandahar.
In a series of interviews to regional news channels, Obama insisted on “responsible way” to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan. “It's important for us to make sure that we get out in a responsible way, so that we don't end up having to go back in ... But what we don't want to do is to do it in a way that is just a rush for the exits," Obama told KDKA, a local Pittsburgh news channel in an interview.
"Obviously what happened this weekend is absolutely heartbreaking and tragic, and I expressed directly to (Afghan) President (Hamid) Karzai how the American people feel any time innocent civilians, especially children are killed, and for it to happen in this kind of terrible way I think we all are concerned about," he said.
Determined to safely bring back the troops, Obama said: "It's been a decade, and you know, frankly, now that we've gotten (Osama) bin Laden, now that we've weakened al Qaeda, we're in a stronger position to transition than we would have been two or three years ago."
Obama said it is important to ensure that American troops do not stay in Afghanistan longer than it is required.
Underscoring that removing such a large number of troops is logistically complicated, he said it needs to be done "in a responsible way," using the Iraq withdrawal as model.
Doing so, he said, will allow the Afghans to "protect their borders and prevent al Qaeda from coming back," he said in another interview to Denver’s KCNC television, an affiliate of CBS news.
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