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The Boston Globe

World

Obama to hasten Afghan transfer

US will cede the lead role early next year; Withdrawal of troops still planned for 2014

WASHINGTON — President Obama said Friday that US troops would hand over security control to Afghan forces sooner than previously announced and he placed new hope in a negotiated settlement with the Taliban after more than a decade of war.

In a joint press conference with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in the East Room of the White House, the presidents of two nations linked by war said the mission in Afghanistan was reaching a turning point. The two leaders, who have clashed in the past, presented a common front in saying that Afghan forces were making enough progress to transfer more authority to them — and potentially accelerate a drawdown of US troops over the next two years.

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