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Progress in Afghanistan called hard but not ‘hopeless’

President Obama’s nominee to become the new U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan told lawmakers Wednesday that the death of Osama bin Laden last month marked “an important step” toward core U.S. goals in the country but that more hard work lies ahead to prevent al-Qaeda from regaining its safe havens there.

In a confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Ryan C. Crocker, a veteran diplomat called out of retirement to take over the difficult post in Kabul, said making progress in Afghanistan is hard but not “hopeless.”

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