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As Military Launches New Attack In Afghanistan, U.S. Ambassador Suggests Extended U.S. Occupation

Speaking before an Afghan audience on Thursday, Karl Eikenberry said, "This is not a deadline despite what some people in the United States and Afghanistan have said."

In Afghanistan, the U.S. has launched a major combat operation in the Uzbeen Valley. Five U.S. Special Forces have reportedly been wounded in the early stages of the attack. The new assault comes as the U.S. has begun sending the first wave of the 30,000 additional troops ordered by President Obama earlier this month. On Thursday, the first Marine battalion deployed under the escalation left Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Battalion member Lance Corporal Joseph Jones was asked about his mission.

Lance Corporal Joseph Jones: "This is what we do: kick down doors, and we look for people and shoot at people. This is what we do. This is what I signed up to do. I don't know about everyone else."

The U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, Karl Eikenberry, meanwhile has given new indications the U.S. expects to remain beyond its 2011 time line. Speaking before an Afghan audience Thursday, Eikenberry said, "This is not a deadline despite what some people in the United States and Afghanistan have said… [It's] entirely based on the conditions that exist at that time."

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