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Candidates spar over Afghanistan

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) – Mitt Romney says he wants to pull troops out of Afghanistan as soon as possible but would consult commanders there before setting a date to do so.

The Republican candidates sparred about foreign policy and military deployments in a nationally televised debate Saturday. Polls show the former Massachusetts governor leading the field in New Hampshire, which holds its primary Tuesday.

Former ambassador Jon Huntsman says it’s up to the president as commander in chief to decide when troops leave. Newt Gingrich said Afghanistan was just one part of growing international tensions facing the US. He said instability in Pakistan and the threat of a nuclear Iran were more pressing issues.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry said he would send troops back to Iraq to prevent Iran from taking over that country.

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