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U.S. says believes it will strike deal with Afghans on troops

U.S. Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan James Dobbins speaks during a news conference in New Delhi June 27, 2013. REUTERS/Ma
U.S. Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan James Dobbins speaks during a news conference in New Delhi June 27, 2013. REUTERS/Ma

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States believes it will strike a deal with Afghanistan that will allow some American troops to stay in the country beyond 2014, when the NATO combat mission ends, the top U.S. diplomat on Afghanistan told Congress on Thursday.

"Without an agreement on our presence in Afghanistan, we would not remain. But we do not believe that that's the likely outcome of these negotiations," James Dobbins, the State Department's special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, told a Senate hearing.

"Unlike Iraq, to which comparisons are often made, the Afghans actually need us to stay. Most Afghans want us to stay. And we have promised to stay."

(Reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by Vicki Allen)

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