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Mullen: 18-month target for Afghanistan flexible

WASHINGTON (AP) - The chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff is reiterating that the U.S. target date for withdrawing troops from Afghanistan is flexible and will take "conditions on the ground" into account.

Adm. Mike Mullen appeared Thursday on national morning news shows to answer questions about President Barack Obama's plan to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan and then begin removing them in 18 months.

The July 2011 target, Mullen told CBS' "Early Show," is when the U.S. will "start to transition security responsibilities to Afghan forces."

Mullen added that there has been "no determination of how long that will take."

He said Obama will begin troop withdrawals "responsibly, and it will be based on conditions on the ground."

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