‘Military did not support fixing Afghan exit date’

July 19, 2014 3:11 PM

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WASHINGTON : US military officials would have preferred the United States not announce a date for ending its troop presence in Afghanistan, as the White House did in May, the outgoing commander of US forces there said on Thursday. General Joe Dunford, commander of US and NATO troops in Afghanistan, was asked at a Senate committee hearing whether President Barack Obama’s announcement that almost all US troops would be gone by 2017 had damaged morale among Afghan soldiers.

“I think all of us in uniform, to include the Afghans, would have preferred that that be a bit more ambiguous,” Dunford said. He was responding to a question by Republican Senator John McCain Of Arizona, a persistent critic of Obama’s Afghanistan policy, during a hearing on Dunford’s nomination to b...

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