| GEO World|
| Obama hints at ending Afghan war|
| Updated at: 0604 PST, Monday, March 23, 2009|
WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama said the United States must have an "exit strategy" in Afghanistan even as it expands its military, diplomatic and economic efforts against a Taliban insurgency.
"So what we're looking for is a comprehensive strategy," Obama said in an interview aired Sunday on a US television. "And there's got to be an exit strategy."
"There's got to be a sense that this is not a perpetual drift," he said.
Obama's comments come as his administration prepares to roll out its new strategy for Afghanistan amid rising insurgent violence that has put in question the viability of a seven-year-old US-led effort to create a functioning democracy.
A decision last month to send 17,000 more US troops to Afghanistan in response to a deteriorating security situation was the most difficult he has had to make since taking office, Obama said.
"You know I think it is the right thing to do. But it's a weighty decision because we actually had to make the decision prior to the completion of (the) strategic review that we were conducting," he said.