WASHINGTON (CNN) - Eight months after Inauguration Day, the Obama administration is still working out its strategy for continued U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan, the president said in an interview that airs Sunday on CNN's State of the Union.
"I think that what we have to do is get the right strategy, and then I think we've got to have some clear benchmarks, [a] matrix of progress," President Barack Obama told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King about the war torn country.
Obama said "our original goal" in the country "was to get Al Qaeda, the people who killed 3,000 Americans [in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks].
"To the extent that our strategy in Afghanistan is serving that goal, then we're on the right track. If it starts drifting away from that goal, then we may have a problem."
Obama also offered a window into his decision maknig process as the commander-in-chief.
"I don't want to put the resource question before the strategy question," Obama told King. "Because there is a natural inclination to say, if I get more, then I can do more. But right now, the question is, the first question is, are we doing the right thing? Are we pursuing the right strategy?"
The president said the answer to that important strategic question will come from his Secretary of Defense, his national security adviser, and commanders on the ground in Afghanistan.
"[W]hat I will say to the American public is, it's not going to be driven by the politics of the moment," the president added.
Obama is currently considering an assessment of troop levels done by Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan. The report is believed by some members of Congress to recommend additional troops be placed in the country. But some influential Democrats on Capitol Hill have expressed reluctance to send more troops to Afghanistan.