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Iraq was hard, Afghanistan is harder, says Obama

October 17, 2009 00:17 IST

If Iraq was hard, Afghanistan is much harder, believes US President Barack Obama, who over the past few weeks has spent more than 15 hours in the situation room of the White House with his key security and intelligence aides trying to find the right strategy for the region.

"Iraq was hard. Afghanistan is harder. There are -- really are people out there who would be happy to blow up this room, wouldn't bat an eye. And we've got to deal with those folks," Obama said at a fundraising reception in San Francisco in California.

With recent upsurge in terror attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Obama is weighing various options -- with regard to sending more troops, training the Afghan police and security forces and concentrating more on development aspects, nation building and governance.

Obama, who has so far held five Situation Room meetings in the last few weeks -- each stretching for more than three hours -- is scheduled to hold another round next week.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the new strategy would be announced in the coming weeks.

Speaking on the occasion, Obama also raised the issue of nuclear proliferation.

"The dangers of nuclear proliferation are real. And it requires incredibly time-consuming, methodical negotiations in order to move us in a more peaceful direction," he said.

"I want everybody to know this because I hope that the election was not just a fad," Obama said.
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