Defending his troop surge strategy, US President Barack Obama said Thursday that things in Afghanistan are getting better not worse and his plans to start withdrawing US forces next year are on track.
In an interview with Australian television ahead of an Asian visit, Obama also indicated that Washington will maintain efforts to get China, India and other developing countries to make further commitments to fighting global warming.
Obama confirmed he will visit Canberra and Sydney in June — a rescheduled a visit after he deferred plans to visit staunch ally Australia and nearby Indonesia last month to conduct last-minute lobbying on his health care reforms.
Afghanistan is likely to be a key topic for discussion when he holds talks with leaders in Australia, which has some 1,500 troops in the country — the largest single contingent outside NATO — and has suffered 11 combat deaths.
Obama said the war in Afghanistan remained a difficult task but that there had been positive trends recently.