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FREDERICK, Md. (AP) — U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett says his weekend visit to Afghanistan increased his optimism that U.S. troops can leave there by 2014 with a stable government in place.

The Maryland Republican spoke with reporters at his Frederick district office Tuesday, one day after his five-member congressional delegation returned.

Bartlett says he was concerned before the visit that America’s war effort in Afghanistan would be an exercise in futility.

Despite his more positive outlook, Bartlett says that the Taliban and al-Qaida will simply operate from elsewhere if they are driven from Afghanistan.

He says he defines a U.S. victory as leaving with respect after turning over security to the Afghans.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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