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Afghanistan: Boulevard of Downsized Goals

Author: Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, Senior Fellow for Women and Foreign Policy
July 10, 2013
CNN Global Public Square

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Then presidential candidate Barack Obama once called Afghanistan the war "we have to win." Now it is the fight America wants only to end.

And as Afghans take the security helm in their country and international forces move to a supporting role, one of the central unanswered questions remains: just how many Americans will stay come 2014 and the long-announced end to the war? The answer to that question says much about the state of U.S.-Afghan relations, the durability of whatever Bilateral Security Agreement the United States and Afghan officials can forge, and America's sense of its own strategic interests in the region, which have become inextricably interwoven with the fate of President Hamid Karzai (though the two are not the same).

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