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Analysis: Afghan debate lacks troop withdrawal timetable

Published 09/09/2009, Associated Press

Complex campaign may never have a defined ending
Defense Secretary Robert Gates and other top Pentagon officials have said they need to show clear progress against the insurgents within 12 to 18 months to firm up public confidence in the war effort. But they are not venturing firm estimates of how long it will take to achieve their central goal of defeating al-Qaida and the Taliban in both Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan.

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