NATO chief declares no rush for Afghan exits

ANNE GEARAN and JULIE PACE
Associated Press
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A plane takes off from Chicago O'Hare International Airport in between the arrival of world leaders attending the NATO Summit, on Saturday, May 19, 2012, in Chicago. Security has been high throughout the city in preparation for the NATO summit, where delegations from about 60 countries will discuss the war in Afghanistan and European missile defense. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

CHICAGO (AP) — The United States and NATO leaders are insisting the Afghanistan fighting coalition will remain whole despite France's plans to yank combat troops out early.

"There will be no rush for the exits," NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Sunday. "Our goal, our strategy, our timetable remain unchanged."

Public opinion in Europe and the United States is solidly against the war, with a majority of Americans now saying it is unwinnable or not worth continuing.

Newly elected French President Francois Hollande has said he will withdraw all French combat troops from Afghanistan by year's end — a full two years before the timeline agreed to by nations in the U.S.-led NATO coalition.