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Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, in a rare joint interview, said Monday that the United States is committed to a regional strategy to build long-standing relations with Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Speaking at George Washington University for a program to be broadcast Tuesday on CNN, the two members of President Obama's Cabinet insisted that the president's deliberate approach to set the right objectives and policies for Afghanistan was necessary and proper.

The Taliban insurgency currently has the momentum in Afghanistan, Gates said, adding that a Taliban takeover of the country would empower the al Qaeda terrorist network.

"Because of our inability and the inability, frankly, of our allies to put enough troops in Afghanistan, the Taliban do have the momentum right now," he told CNN's Christiane Amanpour and former CNN Washington Bureau Chief Frank Sesno in the panel discussion that included Clinton. Watch Gates and Clinton discuss U.S. strategy in Afghanistan

An eventual Taliban victory would provide "added space" for al Qaeda to set up in the country and enhance recruiting and fundraising, bolstered by the perspective of a second victory over a superpower by Muslim forces after having driven out the Soviet Union in the 1980s, Gates said. Read full article »

All About AfghanistanRobert GatesHillary Clinton

See Christiane Amanpour's interview with Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Tuesday, 3 p.m. ET and 19:00 GMT

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