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Obama says Afghan Decision to Come Soon


U.S. President Barack Obama says a decision on a revised Afghanistan strategy will come soon, and he vows the United States military commitment there will not be open-ended.

U.S. President Barack Obama says a decision on a revised Afghanistan strategy will come soon, and he vows the United States military commitment there will not be open-ended. Mr. Obama talked about the strategy review process in Tokyo where he met with Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama.

Questions about the Afghanistan review followed the president across the Pacific.

At a news conference with Prime Minister Hatoyama, he was asked what more information he might conceivably need before making a decision.

"I don't think this is a matter of some datum of information that I'm waiting on," he said. "It's a matter of making certain that when I send young men and women into war, and I devote billions of dollars of U.S. taxpayer money, that it's making us safer."

His military and civilian advisors have provided the president with a range of options, and there have been a number of lengthy closed-door meetings at the White House.

Mr. Obama is said to be considering sending additional troops to Afghanistan, with reports putting the number at somewhere between 10,000 and 40,000.

He told reporters in Tokyo that he will make an announcement soon. And he took on critics who complain the decision making process has been far too slow.

"They tend not to be folks who I think are directly involved in what's happening in Afghanistan," he said. "Those who are recognize the gravity of the situation and recognize the importance of us getting this right."

Mr. Obama said once the decision is made he will make sure the American public fully understands the new war strategy and all it entails. He said in so doing, he will send a message to the Afghan people as well.

"It will also I think send a clear message that our goal here ultimately has to be for the Afghan people to be able to be in a position to provide their own security, and that the United States cannot be engaged in an open-ended commitment," he said.

The president said he will continue to encourage other countries to contribute to the cause. Japan recently announced it will no longer refuel ships involved in the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan. Instead, the new Hatoyama government said it would provide the Afghan people with $5 billion in civilian aid over five years.

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