September 17th, 2009
11:33 AM ET
14 years ago

Biden: Too soon to say if more troops needed in Afghanistan

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="It's too early to say whether more troops are needed for Afghanistan, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday."]

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) - It's too early to say whether more troops are needed for Afghanistan, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday, days after the top U.S. military officer said more forces are probably needed in order to effectively fight the insurgency.

"I think that's premature," Biden told CNN's Chris Lawrence in Baghdad, Iraq, while the vice president was on a brief trip there. "The president made a decision back in March setting clearly what our goal was - (it) is to defeat al Qaeda in that region - and made a significant deployment of resources, civilian and military. They're now only getting in place; they're not all fully in place and deployed."

Biden said a reevaluation of resources in Afghanistan should only happen after the result of last month's presidential election in Afghanistan is
cleared up. There are widespread allegations of massive fraud in the August 20 vote.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai secured more than 54 percent of the vote, according to the final uncertified results announced Wednesday. But the results won't be certified until investigations of election irregularities are completed.

The Afghan people must feel they have a legitimate government, because "the prospect of success is in direct proportion to the legitimacy of the government," Biden said. "And I still think that is very possible, but it is not done yet."

Adm. Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told U.S. senators this week he wants a "fully resourced counterinsurgency" in
Afghanistan. The Afghan people are waiting on the sidelines to see how committed the United States is, he said.

"A properly resourced counterinsurgency probably means more forces," Mullen said, but how those forces will be composed in terms of combat troops and trainers will be a matter for discussion in the coming weeks.

"I have a sense of urgency about this. I worry a great deal the clock is moving very rapidly," he said.

Biden pointed out there has been no formal request for additional troops in Afghanistan, a decision that can only be made once the election outcome is determined and the present troops are in place.

"There's a lot of discussion going on, there's a lot of hypotheticals being raised by all of us," Biden said. "But as the president said, a decision
on resources is not imminent - additional resources."

Biden spoke to CNN the same day that the United States was announcing it would scrap the controversial missile defense shield in Eastern Europe. He explained the logic of the decision, saying Iran - a key concern for the United States - was not a threat.

"I think we are fully capable and secure dealing with any present or future potential Iranian threat," Biden said. The Iranians "have no potential
at this moment. They have no capacity to launch a missile at the United States of America."

The concern for the United States and its allies with Iran right now is whether they develop and deploy a nuclear capability, because that could set off a destabilizing arms race in the Middle East, Biden said.

The vice president closed the interview by addressing the controversial remark by former President Jimmy Carter, who said he believes racism is an issue for President Barack Obama in trying to lead the country.

Carter's initial comments came after Rep. Joe Wilson interrupted Obama's speech on health care to a joint session of Congress by shouting that the president was lying.

Biden acknowledged it is an "incredibly controversial issue" but said Obama doesn't see it the way Carter does.

"The president does not believe, nor do I believe, it's racially based," Biden said.

Filed under: Afghanistan • Joe Biden
soundoff (58 Responses)
  1. What a joke

    Instead of sending more I thought they were bringing them home. This is a mess that is getting old and too many of our soldiers are dying for nothing.

    September 17, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  2. A Democrat of 51 years who has finally got smart to their follishness.

    Here we go again a war not won. But yet multitudes of soldiers gave up their lives. The Democrats are doing another number on our military. Soon our military will refuse to go. AND WHY NOT. Darn , (and I spent 30 years in the Army and three wars if you want to call Desert Storm a war) with none of them won. I'm d... tired of all the maimned, blood lost, lives lost and sacrifices our boys have made. I broke my heart when I lost one. Now I have two sons who has gone through the same old thing. Three tours in Iraq and One in Afghanistan. You're going to stand there now and tell me you are not going to get Osama Bin Laden and defeat the Taliban. Then someone should paint the White House YELLOW.

    September 17, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  3. Ron

    ....we'll let you know after the war is over.

    September 17, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  4. Dar

    What a idiot, If the military wants 10,000 troops send 30,000 and get this war over with pronto. Biden is just givin in to the to BO campaign promises, which wont help. The Taliban will gain control of the country again as our few to troops are being killed and afterwards we will be content to set back with our feet kicked up untill they attack us again, maybe this time with a nuke. Get this war over with and stop messing around.
    God Bless All

    September 17, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  5. Debby

    Wait isn't the 60 days over with that Obama stated in his campaign speech's that he would bring the troops home. He condemed Bush for the war in Iraq, but he is doing the same thing in Afgan.

    September 17, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  6. dun

    Why all the complaining, the lot of you, voted these idiots in overwhelmingly, falling for a bunch of lies, promises, that were not meant to be kept.. SUCKERS!!!!!!!!!!
    For your stupidiy, you all got what you deserve now suffer the consequences. There is only 3 years and4months that you have to enjoy your STUPIDY. That ll85 days,28440 hours

    September 17, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  7. alex african man from congo

    i notice that , democrats are not capables of protecting the world from terrorism,due to weakness of bill clinton policy against terrorism, alqaida took advantage of that opportunity to develop their activities and spread them across the world. after usa embassy bombing in tanzania and kenya, clinton reactions against these attacks were not enough to eradicate threats that we are experiencing. therefore they came about to attack inside usa. ever since bush carry out war against taliban in afghanistan, usa never faced another threat as 11 sept, more troops are needed

    September 17, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  8. Phat Elvis

    Right wingers on the board again eager to turn America's children in to hamburger without so much as a thought. I appreciate that the Administration is not rushing out and putting more americans in danger when the whole war there needs to be reassessed. Consider that if we double down on Afghanistan we will be supporting a weak corrupt president Karzai that clearly rigged Afghan election is his favor. So much for democracy. is that what we want our loved ones to die for?

    September 17, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
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