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Dec 2, 2009 10:22 AM by Associated Press

Gates: US cannot cede Afghanistan to Taliban

Defense Secretary Robert Gates is telling Congress that a U.S. failure in Afghanistan would mean "a Taliban takeover" of the wartorn South Asian nation. In remarks prepared for a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing later Wednesday, Gates said defeat for America also would strengthen the al-Qaida terrorist network and give comfort to like-thinking extremists in the region.

Gates was lined up to appear along with other administration witnesses a day after President Barack Obama announced he was sending an additional 30,000 American troops to Afghanistan, some as early as Christmas. Obama also revealed a goal of commencing a U.S. troop withdrawal by the summer of 2011.

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