Washington (CNN) – President Obama’s national security adviser said Sunday that the administration’s announced date to begin the pull out of additional troops ordered by the president is a “glide slope” and a “ramp” to reducing forces, and not a “cliff” that would induce a precipitous decline in U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
“The president’s decision on 2011 has more do with a transition than anything else,” National Security Adviser James Jones said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union.
Asked whether the White House was committed to removing troops even if the Afghan government and Afghan security forces weren’t fully capable by mid-2011, Jones explained that the date “is not a cliff, it’s a glide slope.”
“Certainly, the president has also said that we’re not leaving Afghanistan. We are here to see that Afghanistan succeeds. We can’t want this more than the Afghans do. If [Afghan] President Karzai leads his nation the way we think he can, [then] this is a very achievable objective.”
“2011 is not a cliff, it’s a ramp,” Jones reiterated when asked to respond to criticism that the president’s new strategy is flawed because it includes a withdrawal date, critical information for those who would do harm to U.S. interests in and around Afghanistan.
“Where’s the end of the ramp?” CNN Chief National Correspondent John King asked Jones.
(CNN) - Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Sunday the United States and its allies must have patience if his country is not ready to assume control of its own security by July 2011, when U.S. troops would begin leaving under President Obama's plan.
Karzai spoke to CNN's "Amanpour" program, in what was believed to be his first Western television interview since Obama's announcement last week that he will deploy an additional 30,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan. Obama also said the U.S. forces would begin withdrawing from Afghanistan in July 2011.
The date was not "an exit announcement," but instead a goal for Afghan forces to be able to start assuming security control from U.S.-led allied forces, Karzai said in the interview.
The United States and its allies "must have patience" and "stay with us" if Afghanistan is not ready to assume security control by then, Karzai said.