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Priorities Are Far Apart as Karzai and Obama Meet

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For Mr. Karzai, Friday's meeting with President Obama may prove to be a jolting illustration of how sharply Obama has scaled back his ambitions in a conflict he once called a war of necessity -- going so far as to entertain an option to leave behind no American troops after 2014, when the NATO combat mission ends. Karzai, who met Thursday with Secretary of Defense Panetta, has far different expectations, according to Afghan officials. Although he has been careful not to discuss specific troop numbers in public, Karzai appears to be counting on a substantial residual American force -- perhaps as many as 15,000 troops, whose mission would be to advise Afghan security forces in their fight against the Taliban insurgency and carry out raids against Al Qaeda.

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