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Obama Cements 2014 Afghan Pullout

Obama used his final press conference before leaving the NATO summit in Lisbon to cement his intention to have the United States out of Afghanistan by 2014. Trainers and advisors would remain in the country past the pullout date, as is the case in Iraq, the president said. He addressed Afghan president Hamid Karzai’s statement that the U.S. withdrawal should begin immediately, calling the U.S.-Afghan relationship a “two-way street,” in which both parties should be mindful of Afghanistan’s sovereignty as well as the fact that the U.S. is “ponying up billions of dollars” in the effort to rebuild the war-torn country. The president used the press conference to nudge Republicans to ratify the START nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russa, despite Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) having said he didn’t think there was time to do so in the lame duck congressional session. He also addressed the rising concerns about TSA’s airport security check procedures, calling them frustrating but necessary.