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U.S. senators press Obama on Afghan withdrawal


WASHINGTON (AFP) – A group of 25 US senators, almost all Democrats, released a letter urging President Barack Obama to carry out a "sizable and sustained reduction" of US forces in Afghanistan in July.

Obama promised 18 months ago -- when he announced a troop surge to push back the Taliban and buy time for Afghan political and security development -- that in July 2011 US troops "will begin to come home."

The senators, including a leftist political independent and two "Tea Party" conservative Republicans, said they believe that the US mission in Afghanistan is complete, especially after US commandos killed Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in early May.

Widespread corruption in Afghanistan has also undermined development goals, and staying there no longer justifies risking US lives or spending US funds.

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