November 15th, 2009
01:50 PM ET
5 years ago

Clinton: U.S. not interested in long-term presence in Afghanistan

(CNN) - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Sunday the primary U.S. mission in Afghanistan is defeating al Qaeda, rather than making a long-term commitment to rebuild the country.

"We're not interested in staying in Afghanistan; we're not interested in any long-term presence there," Clinton told the NBC program "Meet the Press."

"We want to get al Qaeda, we want to disrupt, dismantle and defeat those who attacked us, and we want to be able to give the Afghans the tools that they need to be able to defend themselves," Clinton said.

On the ABC show "This Week," Clinton said she has "made it clear" the United States won't provide civilian aid to Afghan government agencies without an effective certification process that shows the money will be spent on its intended purposes.

Full story

Updated: 1:50 p.m.

soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. LacrosseMom

    The war in Afghanistan is a Bush Error. We will withdraw from Afghanistan. The Taliban is not Al-Qaeda (which Bush promised to wipe off the planet, but is still alive and well ...... after 8 years of war!). The Taliban wants to rule Afghanistan, and it is up to the Afghan people to FIGHT for their country and THEIR freedom!

    History will show that the Bush Wars were devastating to our Nation; that the Bush Wars were a huge mistake!

    The U.S. can not invade a sovereign country and force Freedom and Democracy down the throats of the people! Freedom & Democracy must be born in the hearts and minds of the Afghan and Iraqi people.

    Lets we forget, the war in Iraq was and is about.......... OIL.

    November 15, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  2. thomas harding

    Giving the Afghans the tools is like Arming the Hatfields against the McCoys.

    November 15, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  3. terry,va

    Translation, we are getting ready to bug out.

    November 15, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  4. vic nashville , Tn

    From Iraq or Afghan we can’t get out , I wish we can bring our troops home

    Only way to destroy Al-Qaida bomb their bases keep on Bomb till they destroy
    Thanks to Bush , Cheney and Rove made this mess

    November 15, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  5. citizen

    Thank you, Madam Secretary and President Obama. Hillary, we need you in your current position. You are strong, intelligent, ethics based and loyal. Thank you for a clear message to the U.S. and to Karzai. His interview on American TV was outrageous. Keep sending those messages to him and to us that we will not invest our American future in the country of Afghanistan. We are strong and so are you! Keep up the important and great work.

    November 15, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  6. HJA

    These people do not understand democracy. Warlords, tribal areas,a Kalashnikov for your 5th birthday. We have no business sending troops to die there. Oh I hear it coming. "We are fighting terrorism. They attacked us." I have never heard one of these "War mongers" ask "Why" were we attacked. The standard response is "They hate our way of life." Well let's look at our "way of life." I think we have less than 20% of the world population. We consume 25% of the worlds resources. We produce 4 times more trash than anyone else. Looking at history we take what we want. We are not Americans. We are all immigrant Americans. We took America. Panama canal? We took it. Hawaii? Business men saw a profit. Christian leaders saw Satin. We took it. We gave back the Panama canal. Maybe we should give back Hawaii. "We" are the worlds bullies. Obama is trying to change that and clean up the mess the Republinazis left behind.

    November 15, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  7. diridi

    true...Afganistan is a waste...do not send troops up there....it is Pakistan....then they sneek in to india...etc....ok....

    November 15, 2009 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  8. A.B.

    Perhaps the Obama Administration should build a multilateral force creating the surge needed to defeat the taliban and afterwards pull U.S. troops out of Afghanistan and leave nation building to the United Nations and NGO's.

    November 15, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  9. SocialismBad

    SO what happened to Obama and all his empty BS rhetotic? "Afghanistan is a war we must fight and win. Afghanistan is a war of necessity." Now it comes time to back up his empty suit and statements with action and the incompetent can't make a decision in over 3 months. Meanwhile American troops are dying and our enemies sense his weakness. Obama is a disaster for this country and its military.

    November 15, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  10. John in Indy

    It is stupefying to read the arrogance in the words of Secretary Clinton and some of her accolytes. No one remembers history at all. Its always "Bush lied, people died", or "blood for oil". The short-sighted stupidity of making that pronouncement on national TV will do more to drive the national populace toward the Taliban than any dozen bombings would ever do. Also, it isn't our western lifestyles that make al qeada so mad, its the fact that we aren't muslim!

    November 15, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  11. REG in AZ

    Michael Moore once described his impression of the average Democrat and it created the picture of a fairly down-to-earth, family oriented individual, who you might think had a dog, liked kids, enjoyed bowling, was pretty easy going, was considerate of others, valued honesty and, the weakness, gave in to others pretty easily. Now that is obviously an over simplification but the point may be well taken that the different political values may tend to draw different common personalities. Even being moderately liberal seems to infer a conscience that dictates more concern for others and accepting more responsibility for the world, while conservatism can be seen as implying a stricter, more self-focused, aggressive and, the fault, a lack of any real community conscience (even in it being seen as a weakness). Taking it one step further, whether liberal or conservative, it should be recognized that any honest and conscience driven person is at a disadvantage when dealing with a person who has no conscience and is easily dishonest. While one is waiting for understanding the other is simply walking away with the goods. Really there are only two ways for an honest person to deal with a dishonest person: one, trying to compete with them and hoping to be successful at being more dishonest than they are (i.e., playing their game), which rarely works; and two, tell them what you expect and will tolerate, bargain no further and accept nothing less. In the early stages the results can favor the dishonest person but as time and the negatives progress, the recognition comes, the patience wanes and the strength gains with the honest person then confidently becoming more firm. Which do you prefer to represent you? First, I am not implying that all Republicans are dishonest by any means yet I do really see a current trend for it to be more tolerated there (maybe just in their several sociopathic personalities; Palin, Bush, Rove,,,). Second, I think the answer is in what does your conscience dictate; what can you live with and are you susceptible to the con, to the manipulative appeal to your self-interests, and then are you concerned for only immediate individual gain or instead looking at being responsible, including to future generations? Personally, I'd like to see honesty and compassion, responsibility and integrity be the standard for both parties and for all representatives – we the voters are the only ones that can force that to happen.

    November 15, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  12. BTS

    I wish we could just get out of the middle east COMPLETELY! Don't send any more troops. Just get out! And for all the people complaining about the debt we're in and Obama not making a decision about sending 40,000 more troops to Afghanistan. YOU CAN'T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS!!!! Sending more troops COST MONEY. Don't condemn Obama for spending money to get the country financially stable again, when you want him to SPEND/BORROW money to kill others. You sound like HYPOCRITES!

    November 15, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  13. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Bush made these longtime contracts with Karzai and the Prime Minister of Iraq and the Obama administration is trying to reverse them and that's a difficult task. Bush funded Karzai and his corrupt government and never asked questions, just kept pumping him money and kept him smiling.

    November 15, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  14. J.C. - Independent 4 Public Option

    We certainly don't want Afghanistan or Pakistan to think that as long as al Qaeda or Talibans are active there, we will continue sending troops and billions of dollars to support the country. If keeping terrorists active is tied to such economic incentives, we will never achieve what we intend to do there. Corruptions are the No. 1 cause for locals to turn to the Talibans so that should be the No. 1 enemy for the US and NATO. Whoever that can give the Afghans a better life will win.

    November 15, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  15. Dan, TX

    Remember, the war in Iraq will not cost us anything, it will be paid by Iraqi oil. That was the promise of the Bush administration.

    That is why we didn't raise taxes to pay for it. But now that Iraqi oil is not going to pay for it, we have to. Please, immediately raise our income taxes 10% so I don't have to leave this burden to my children. We must pay for what we bought, a war in Iraq on a credit card. We must pay it off. Please RAISE TAXES NOW!

    November 15, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  16. B

    Obama is actually trying to find a intelligent way out of that Black Hole !

    November 15, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  17. Tear Down the GOP Curtain

    Exactly since Afganistan has no major oil reserves, Bush and Darth Vader never took the "forgotten" war seriously and the GOP never had any real interest in winning the war.

    It was ALL ABOUT IRAQ and making $$$$ for Bush/Cheney golfing pals at Haliburton and Big Oil . Shame on the GOP for pitching a pack of lies and the sell-out media being complicit with hyping up their sheisty agenda.

    November 15, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  18. The good warrior

    Looks like the Obama administration is not interested in being in Afghanistan.

    November 15, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  19. War of political necessity

    Wasn't Afghanistan the good war?
    Apparently just a good sound byte.

    November 15, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  20. jumbo

    get out yesterday.......

    November 15, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  21. Sally

    I do believe that the President is planning on bringing our troops home
    instead of sending more. He'll just do it in a calm manner in which he
    is taking care of the rest of the country, precise and well thought out.
    Its nice to feel at ease again in America.

    November 15, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  22. Jeff In Ohio

    100 guys in caves. TIme to come home.

    November 15, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  23. Mlhall

    SocialismBad, Our troop are not dying fast enough for you. You want some one to go to war take your sorry behind over there. I am sick and tire of people like you who continuously finding some thing to – - – - – about. Don’t tell me you have done your part in this war because if you had you would not be in a hurry for some one else to go and fight a war that we can’t win. Do something constructive and move to another country if you don’t like the way things are done here in America.

    November 15, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  24. Eric

    Amen. Finally someone from the government sees the importance of us getting out of there and making it clear this isn't going to be some never ending war and we aren't going to stay there forever and protect them. Hilary I love your bluntness ! Its what we need.

    November 15, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  25. Terry from West Texas

    We cannot afford a long-term presence. There are bigger fish to fry than terrorists. Think clearly. While terrorists have killed about 9,000 Americans since 2002, Americans killed more than 14,000 Americans just last year. Lack of health insurance has killed more than 300,000 Americans according to a Harvard study. We have real monsters to fight, not just terrorist mosquitoes: global warming, totalitarian governments, the global economy, the declining standard of living in the USA, the flow of income and property from the middle class to the upper class, the declining wages and benefits of employment, pandemics, weather changes, the skyrocketing cost of college education, the national debt, DNA manipulation, and so on. Also, we have a well financed Conservative machine that is dedicated to preventing any change of any kind. They must be thoroughly defeated.

    November 15, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
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