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Afghans to join U.S.-led review of war policy

February 16, 2009|chicago tribune

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN — An Afghan delegation will join a U.S.-led policy review of the war in the region, President Hamid Karzai and U.S. special envoy Richard Holbrooke announced Sunday.

Karzai and Holbrooke were overtly cordial to each other in a 13-minute media briefing at which neither took questions. Holbrooke allowed Karzai to announce that President Obama had approved the request for the Afghan delegation.

Holbrooke also said the U.S. supported the announcement of the Aug. 20 presidential election date, even though it is highly controversial in Afghanistan. The election was supposed to be held in April, many leading Afghan lawyers and politicians say, and Karzai could benefit from the delay and from incumbency if an interim president is not selected.

The delay will allow enough time for more U.S. troops to be deployed to help with security. Obama, who has made the Afghan war one of his top foreign policy priorities, is expected to announce that as many as 30,000 more U.S. troops will be sent to Afghanistan, in addition to the 33,000 already here.

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