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Admiral Confident On Afghan Withdrawal

KABUL, Afghanistan, July 31 (UPI) — The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, said Sunday in Kabul the U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan wouldn’t hurt the country.

In his unannounced visit to the country, Mullen told reporters after consulting with U.S. commanders, the transition of responsibility to Afghan security and police officials was largely on track, The New York Times reported.

President Barack Obama announced earlier this year he wanted to bring 10,000 U.S. troops home by the end of this year and 23,000 more by the end of September 2012.

Mullen said he was satisfied that such a move wouldn’t derail Afghanistan’s progress.

“I am very confident that we can meet both the needs on the ground as well as the deadlines and the goals that have been laid out by the president,” he said.

The admiral said he was aware that Taliban and other extremist groups were targeting areas where U.S. and other NATO troops were vacating. He said the nature of small, targeted guerrilla operations suggested the Taliban had sustained heavy losses and weren’t able to mount major offensives any longer, the Times said.

UPI - United Press International, Inc.

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