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Obama to talk about Afghan endgame

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama is sending 30,000 extra U.S. troops to Afghanistan on an accelerated timetable that will have the first Marines there as early as Christmas and all forces in place by summer. But he'll also declare Tuesday night that troops will start leaving in 19 months.

In a prime-time speech to the nation from West Point, N.Y., that ends a 92-day review, Obama will seek to sell his much bigger, costlier plan for the 8-year-old stalemated war to a skeptical public in part by twinning it with some specifics about an exit strategy, said two senior administration officials.

He will tell the American people that U.S. troops will start leaving Afghanistan in July 2011, one official said.

As he prepares to send 30,000 additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan, Obama is also asking European allies to contribute between 5,000 and 10,000 new troops to the international force there.

NATO diplomats say the request is being made to European members of the military alliance.

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