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Gates: Domestic concerns will affect Afghan move

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The Associated Press | June 21, 2011 11:33 AM EST | AP

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WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Robert Gates says President Barack Obama will have to incorporate domestic concerns about the war in Afghanistan into his decision on drawing down American troops there.

Gates said Tuesday the war's unpopularity among the American people and Congress must play a significant role in the president's thinking. He said conditions on the ground cannot be the only calculus for this or any other major national security decision.

Gates, who is leaving the job after four years, was speaking at a news conference at the State Department shortly before going to the White House with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton for a meeting on Afghan strategy. Obama is expected to announce his decision on troop withdrawals on Wednesday.