Mission on track in Afghanistan: Obama aide
WASHINGTON (PAN): A top Obama aide on Monday asserted the United States was on track to complete its mission in Afghanistan and achieve its two goals -- defeating Al Qaeda and preventing the country from becoming a terrorist safe haven again.
“We have two goals in Afghanistan. The first goal is the defeat of Al Qaida and the second to ensure that Afghanistan not become in the future the kind of safe haven that it might be and was for Al Qaida prior to 9/11,” National Security Advisor to US President Tom Donilon told a New York audience.
Responding to questions at the prestigious Asia Society in New York, Donilon said the US had put tremendous pressure on Al Qaida over the last four years. The US has not only weakened the Al Qaeda leadership, but was also making sure that Afghanistan would no longer be a terrorist safe haven.
When asked about the recent statements of President Hamid Karzai, Donilon said that these transitions are difficult. “There are very difficult questions of sovereignty, security, of lots of political pressures, just war weariness, and we have to work our way through those things, and we will. We've had challenges before. We've continued to work with President Karzai,” he asserted with confidence.
“We are on track to establish and meet the goals that we've set for ourselves. The overarching goal, I think, for the American people to understand is that we are on track to achieve the two goals that we've set for ourselves and to do it on the calendar that we're on and finish the main military operation that we have right now by the end of December of 2014,” Donilon said.
The top Obama Administration official said the US is on its track to complete the ISAF mission, to complete the current military mission, by December 31st, 2014.
“We are on track to do that. And indeed, we've met some important milestones. Indeed, this spring, in May, we'll be at a point where the Afghan forces will be in the lead in all missions, and the ISAF forces, including the United States, will be in a train and advise and assistant support mode. That's an important milestone,” he said.
“It will allow us, after this fight, to give the Afghans two full fighting seasons, the 2013 fighting season and the 2014 fighting season, to be out front and establish themselves in terms of providing security for the Afghan people, and will allow the United States and our ISAF partners to draw down our forces and complete that mission by the end of 2014. I think we'll be on track to do that,” he said.
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