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Obama sets new afghan targets

world Updated: Jul 12, 2009 11:34 IST

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US President Barack Obama wants to focus on developing Afghanistan's army and police after the country's August elections so that Afghans could take more responsibility and have greater capacity to secure their country.

In an interview with Britain's Sky News television, Obama said that US and allied troops have pushed back the Taliban and now their immediate target is to steer Afghanistan through elections.

"The most important thing we can do is to combine our military efforts with effective diplomacy and development so that Afghans feel a greater stake and have a greater capacity to secure their country," he said.

"Post-election... I think we need to start directing our attention to how do we create an Afghan army, an Afghan police," he added. Obama said, "We knew that this summer was going to be tough fighting, that there was an interest in the Taliban exerting control. They have, I think, been pushed back but we still have a long way to go. We've got to get through elections."

He said that security is the top priority but other developmental issues are also on agenda. "It may not be on the military side, it might be on the development side providing Afghan farmers alternatives to poppy crops, making sure that we are effectively training a judiciary system and a rule of law in Afghanistan that people trust."