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Progress 'too slow' in Afghanistan: Obama

world Updated: Mar 30, 2010 07:44 IST
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Progress in Afghanistan has been "too slow," US President Barack Obama said Monday following a surprise visit to the war-torn nation.

"I think he is listening," Obama, referring to his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai, told NBC in an interview after returning from his trip in which the two leaders held talks.

"But I think that the progress is too slow, and what we've been trying to emphasize is the fierce urgency of now," Obama said in an interview set to air on US television early Tuesday.

Obama returned to the United States early Monday after a surprise trip to Afghanistan, his first to the country since he took office more than a year ago.

The trip had been kept a secret for security reasons until Obama touched down in Kabul.

He spent just five hours on the ground in Afghanistan, holding talks with Karzai Sunday and rallying US forces at Bagram air base, vowing to "reverse the Taliban's momentum."

He also pushed Karzai, who has had tense relations with the Obama administration, to make greater efforts to tackle corruption and the rampant drug trade that has been blamed for providing financial backing to Islamic militants.