(FILES) This file photo taken on March 11, 2002 shows US soldiers returning from the Gardez battlefield as they exit a Chinook helicopter which has just transported them back to the US base at Bagram, some 70 kms north of Kabul. US President Barack Obama on December 1, 2009 warned Afghanistan was not "lost" but announced a swift 30,000 strong troop surge to "seize the initiative" and finally end the brutal eight-year war. In a major televised address, Obama placed a major political and military bet that a fast influx of troops could defeat Al-Qaeda, crush a resurgent Taliban and pave a way home for US forces after years of bloodshed. AFP PHOTO / FILES / HOANG DINH NAM
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