(NEW YORK) -- President Obama says the U.S. is intent on winning the war in Afghanistan by preventing the Taliban from regaining control of the country it led from the mid-1990's through 2001.
In the second part of an interview with Fox News host Bill O'Reilly, Obama asserted, "I can say we will defeat al Qaeda and that the Taliban will not be retaking Afghanistan."
The president, who ordered a surge of 30,000 more soldiers to join the coalition effort that began nearly ten years ago, praised American forces as being "on the offensive rather than being on the defensive and we’re starting to transition so that Afghan security forces are taking over."
According to Obama, one of the biggest variables that could either guarantee or squash success in Afghanistan is the performance of its volatile leader, President Hamid Karzai.
Washington has had a love-hate relationship with Karzai ever since he came to power in 2005, and Obama said, "I do think that he’s got some big changes that he has to make in his government to be legitimate in the eyes of the Afghan people over the long term."
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