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U.S. commander supports surge timeline; Taliban calls it "no solution"

KABUL (AP) - The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan says he's "absolutely supportive" of the 18-month timeline for President Barack Obama's troop surge even if Taliban forces try to wait out the increased U.S. commitment.

Gen. Stanley McChrystal tells reporters that even if the Taliban lay low, the 18-month period allows time to bolster Afghan military and governing capability to make it harder for the militants to return.

The general spoke after Obama announced plans to send 30,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan but begin a drawdown in July 2011 as conditions permit.

Meanwhile, the Taliban is calling Obama's plan "no solution" to Afghanistan's problems. A statement warns that Obama's plan will let the militants step up their attacks and "shake the American economy."

Also today, lawmakers are moving quickly to hold hearings on President Barack Obama's plan to send 30,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan.

Senate Armed Services Committee members plan to grill top administration officials about the troop buildup today. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will all testify.


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