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Obama Honors War Afghan War Dead; Karzai Admits Security Failures

A U.S. soldier stands guard on a watch tower overlooking villages at Combat Outpost Sabari in the Khost Province in June
U.S. President Barack Obama has saluted more than 1,700 U.S. troops who have died in the Afghan war, along with the coalition and Afghan forces killed.

In a statement marking the launch of the military operation to oust the Taliban regime in Afghanistan 10 years ago, Obama said the United States was safer thanks to the sacrifice of troops, diplomats, and intelligence analysts.

Earlier, Afghan President Hamid Karzai has said his government and the U.S.-led NATO mission had failed to provide security to Afghans.
In an interview with the BBC in Kabul marking 10 years since the start of war, Karzai said, "We've done terribly badly in providing security to the Afghan people and this is the greatest shortcoming of our government and of our international partners."
The Afghan president, who took office shortly after the 2001 U.S.-led invasion brought down the Taliban regime, said the Taliban insurgency could not be defeated unless its sanctuaries in neighboring Pakistan were eliminated.
Karzai also said he did not rule out negotiations with the Taliban, but such talks would take place only if the militants named a representative.
The U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, which started on October 7, 2001, was aimed at ending the rule of the Taliban and hunting down Al-Qaeda Islamic militants held responsible for carrying out the September 11, 2001, attacks in the United States that killed nearly 3,000 people.
The "Operation Enduring Freedom" invasion toppled Taliban rule within weeks, and a new U.S.-backed administration under current President Hamid Karzai was installed.
However, tens of thousands of U.S., NATO, and Afghan troops continue to battle Taliban insurgents and to conduct operations aimed at establishing security and functioning government institutions.

In a statement issued on October 7, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the militant group will keep fighting until all foreign forces have left Afghanistan.
compiled from agency reports

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