WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama warned Sunday that while his administration is now increasing U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan, America's military commitment to the troubled Islamic republic would not be open-ended.
"It's not going to be an open-ended commitment of infinite resources. We've just got to make sure that we are focused on achieving what we need," Obama said during an interview on CBS's "Face the Nation."
Friday, Obama announced plans to send another 4,000 troops to Afghanistan, along with hundreds of civilian specialists, such as agricultural experts, educators and engineers. The fresh troops are in addition to another 17,000 the president announced earlier would be sent to Afghanistan, and will be charged with training and building the Afghan army and police force.
"What I will not do is to simply assume that more troops always results in an improved situation," the president said.
"Just because we needed to ramp up from the greatly under-resourced levels that we had doesn't automatically mean that if this strategy doesn't work, that what's needed is even more troops. There may be a point of diminishing returns in terms of troop levels."
Obama also indicated that while previous U.S. pledges to foster a more open, democratic regime in Afghanistan would not be abandoned, they would take a back seat to a mission more "narrowly targeted on defeating al Qaeda."
"The focus over the last seven years I think has been lost," Obama said. "What we want to do is to refocus attention on al Qaeda. We are going to root out their networks, their bases. We are going to make sure that they cannot attack U.S. citizens, U.S. soil, U.S. interests, and our allies' interests around the world."