November 10th, 2010
10:32 AM ET

U.S. official: December review to help set 'pace' of Afghan transition

An upcoming December review of Afghanistan strategy will help the president determine the "path" and "pace" of the U.S. drawdown of troops and transition of territory to the Afghan government next July, according to a senior administration official.

The approximately 70-page classified review is being prepared to assess progress one year after President Barack Obama announced he was adding 30,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan. At the time, the president said that by July 2011 the United States will begin pulling some troops out depending on the conditions.

The senior administration official spoke to the media on Tuesday on the condition he not be identified.

The administration official stressed the review was not meant to rewrite strategy, rather it is to assess whether the current strategy is on the right path.

Before that review is completed in mid-December, the United States will participate in a NATO conference on the war. A major focus of those meetings, which begin next week in Lisbon, Portugal, will be determining how the United States and other countries will establish an "enduring" commitment to Afghanistan so that, while the country "increasingly stands up, she doesn't have to stand alone" after territory is transitioned, the official said.

The United States expects Afghanistan security forces to take the lead in conducting security operations throughout the country by 2014.

The "quite comprehensive" review will focus on eight objectives covering progress in counter-terrorism, Pakistan and Afghanistan, the official said.

A declassified version of the review will be released to Congress and the U.S. public either at the end of this year or the beginning of 2011. The official said a fuller version would not be released because disclosure could place lives at risk and jeopardize progress the U.S. is trying to generate.

The report will help the president decide on the level of transition to the Afghanistan government, but the official said it will not be the "defining" answer since there will still be a half-year of events that could affect the decision on what happens starting in July 2011.

While the official said the Afghan government's efforts to talk with insurgents has not progressed yet beyond "talks with talks," the fact those are progressing at all is an indication to the United States that the Taliban "may" be under pressure, the official said. The review will try to consider where that pressure is being exerted by the NATO forces and how it can be sustained and increased.

While 2011 and 2014 may signal potential end dates for Americans weary of the war in Afghanistan, the overall U.S. effort there won't be done even in 2014, another senior U.S. official stressed.

"This is not gonna happen on July 2011. It's going to take time. Four years, at least. And even then, we're gonna be there for some time," the official said.

Even after some areas of the country are handed over to Afghan forces, the local government will need money, supplies and possibly manpower to maintain control.

"Sustainment is going to be a key issue. The only way Afghan forces CAN be sustained over time is with foreign assistance," the official said.

The official also defended the alliance's commitment to Afghanistan, saying that of the 10,000 troops pledged, about 8,300 have deployed and more are coming.

"With the exception of the Dutch and Canadians, no country has said they'll leave Afghanistan," the official said. "The British have said they'll end combat operations by 2014. But the strategy is designed so that, hopefully, we don't have to be in a combat situation at that time."

soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. Dindy.....

    RSAR4 YOU NEED CORRECTION HERE. iT IS VERY HARD TO GET TALIBAN AND aL QAEDA EARS.

    November 13, 2010 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
    • The Prophet Mohammed

      @ Dindy, he doesn't need correction, he needs to take a English as a second language course.

      November 14, 2010 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
      • RSAT4

        Hey mf* english is third language mf, aslong as you can get what I am trying to say. You cant even read or write a single word in my language mf*.

        November 15, 2010 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Dindy.....

    RSAT4...........PRAY FOR TALIBAN AND AL QAEDA FIRST OTHER WISE THIS PROBLEM WILL CONTINUE. PRAY FOR THEM TO COME TO REAL SALVATION SO THEY DO NOT KILL 3000 WITHIN 20 MINUTES AGAIN. Gun is not a solution..../???may be jets.. Do not give baby talks. God will answer soon and dont worry about it. God is not blind to see what has happened from the beginning. America is not in a fight with Afghanistan people . Not with Pakistan civilians. America is after Al qaeda and their supporters. Defending their country and their loved ones is not a crime .

    November 13, 2010 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
  3. RSAT4

    Its very hard to get to american ears, I am trying my level best to get in it. I am happy because you seems to be getting the massage, all I asked from you is to spread massage to all Americans. I belief if you guys can change your way of approaching things this world will be safer place. Why cant you learn from South Africans. A Gun is not solution, the best thing is to seat down and sort your differences. God has given us brain which powerfull than all creatures, so why cant we use it. Yes we go for fight okay, we fight.. fight.. fight but at end of the day we will need to seat down and talk. Why didn't we take the shortcut and avoid fighting.

    All I can tell you is that there was way of dealing with 9-11 ortherthan going to war. Yes I agree people died there and i am not happy about that and belief no one has right to kill another person. What you should have done to those whom you think are responsible is to find a movite behind their actions. Tell me, have you solve anything by going to war, the answer is big NO! but instead you have worsen the situation. Anyway I am black christian South African who doesn't in war. Yes country might have crime but we are working on it and we are aware that people are doing crime because of hunger. Amen

    November 13, 2010 at 1:28 am | Report abuse |
  4. craig

    I hope that the 70 page brief includes an adendum on formal collaboration with the Taliban, because they aren't going anywhere, and, whether we like it or not, with the possible turn of future events we may not want them to go anywhere.

    This is not three cheers for the Talibn. They were in many ways despots by any standard. But, in their Hay day they were able to boast the maintenance of stability within the borders of Afghanistan. Something that neither we nor the Russians were able to accomplish. They even, regardless of the contrary conjecture of some, put a successful ban on opium production. And given our level of effectiveness in their stead could we really suppose that we would be capable of doing the same with the current plan to reallocate the usage of farm land there?

    Moreover, as is assertained in the authors of the review, I would say for certain that not only are we not going to be out of there by 2011 or by the potentially extended deadline of 2014, but rather we may be there indefinately. There is no real impetus for the stability of Afghanistan by many regional players. For Iran and many further east, China, the country has become a tarrif trampoline, allowing for MUCH support for the continued instabilty, or at least limited stability, that fosters the continued existance of an 'informal' trade regime for the region, and, indeed, internationally; a regime that the Taliban maintained quite well.

    This raises the other obvious issue as to what, then, do we leave them with, if anything, on our way out the door? Which I would like to get into later. But for now.. don't start packing your bags US military. The events in Afghanistan are becoming of a global proportion. Its a globalized world whether we like it or not. And for regional, as well as international, security and trade issues we are going to be there for some time. The question will, HAS TO become, what are we going to do differently?

    November 12, 2010 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |
  5. kate

    This is the fourth time you pasted the same thing are you a spam bot?

    November 12, 2010 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • RSAT4

      I am trying to get to your deaf ears, maybe you do something for change typical american.

      November 13, 2010 at 12:33 am | Report abuse |
  6. unshackled

    Miracles of 360 degree imbeciles, replace gau pee with camel poo and pee (courtesy google "gulping warm camel dung"). Drinking with dirty fly in their glass (one wing is supposed to hide antidote to filth from other one). Keep on with your vile ideas until Drone does swift justice. Now I know why they have hoards of camel in their backyard, couple of decade later we will notice madrasa bred vermins (Al Queda fighters, marrying 72 Pak virgins and breeding like hell).

    November 11, 2010 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
    • unshackled

      What has started as Pakistan had transformed into "Islamic republic or Pakistan" and shortly into Paki"SATAN", the effect of which was felt across globe and now today in Karachi. Eventually it is heading into becoming "Islamic Emirate of Arbiwatan". Effect of 360 degree madrasa crap.

      November 11, 2010 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • unshackled

      You reap what you sow, you will eventually name it as "Islamic Emirate of Arbiwatan" courtesy foreign fighters and local virgins.

      November 11, 2010 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • unshackled

      The cancer called Paki"SATAN" was sowed way back when Kasim invaded Sind, we are again blessed when the cancer got cutoff in 1947. Enjoy as long as you exist.

      November 11, 2010 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • unshackled

      Yes to madrasa 360 degree retard, the capital of Paki"SHAITAN" is Islama"barbad". Vile are their ways of their behavior called jihad.

      November 11, 2010 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Dindy.....

    WELL..THEN GIVE COW MAMA"S MILK TO AL QUAEDA AND KEEP THEM IN YOUR BACK YARD.

    November 11, 2010 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Dindy.....

      Do not worry about Jesus suddenly because in your QURAN Jesus is just a prophet. It is better to keep the mad Taliban and Al queda in a corner till they recover from there mental illness. Blood sucking vampires . They know nothing about true God. Killing non Muslims behind a imaginary God. But not the true God who is compassionate and Good.

      November 13, 2010 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Dindy.....

      Nothing wrong with defending ourselves when demonic souls are always dreaming to fly into us.

      November 13, 2010 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
  8. Dindy.....

    Pakistan Army it self can get rid of Al qaeda if they try more. Pakistan has a big Army. It is better to keep the extremist there in a corner rather than letting them come out to make mess in other countries.Thanks to US,NATO AND Pakistan troops for their sacrifice all these year for keeping them under control. The reason many are alive today because of the brave men and women who serve in the Forces. May God Protect them. Amen.

    November 10, 2010 at 11:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dindy.....

      Pakistan army kil its own citizens.? why al–qaeda kill its own? why Taliban kill its own?

      November 13, 2010 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
    • The Prophet Mohammed

      @ Dindy- Why do they kill thier own people? Becuase they don't like them either I guess.

      November 14, 2010 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
  9. BUBBA--ALABAMA STYLE!!!

    I'm afraid that these right-wing thugs are going to find another excuse to keep us in this obnoxious war and that makes me sick!

    November 10, 2010 at 8:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Daniel-2

      And I'm afraid that you're right,Bubba!

      November 11, 2010 at 8:06 am | Report abuse |
      • BUBBA--ALABAMA STYLE!!!

        Who asked you? you are a mental defective.

        November 11, 2010 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
      • BUBBA--ALABAMA STYLE!!!

        I suppose that you're not,Phunnie boy. Of course you are,because anybody who thinks that this obnoxious war is a joke has got to have some screws loose somewhere!

        November 12, 2010 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Daniel-2

      Well put,Bubba. Thank you.

      November 12, 2010 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
      • BUBBA--ALABAMA STYLE!!!

        Up yours.

        November 12, 2010 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
      • The Prophet Mohammed

        Ah the happy lovers...

        November 14, 2010 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
      • The Prophet Mohammed

        couldn't resist...

        November 14, 2010 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  10. Dan in Lafayette, IN

    Yea right and have another terrorist haven to train and plan attacks against the western world?

    November 10, 2010 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Dan in Lafayette, IN

    Sorry Prophet Mohammed I do believe that it is a good thing that we help Islamic states who want to stand up against Islamic extremism. The more help we get from Islam the more peaceful the religion will become and the better off the world will be.

    November 10, 2010 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan in Lafayette, IN

      I didn't post the above but we need to get out of Afghanistan where we definately do not belong as soon as possible. Now the right-wing thugs in Washington are going to find another excuse to keep us in there!

      November 10, 2010 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  12. The Prophet Mohammed

    As much as I would love to say the Hell with Afghanistan and leave the rats on thier sinking ship, I'm afraid the US will be in Afghanistan until the cash cow runs out at the expense of the American taxppayer, likely another ten years.

    November 10, 2010 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
    • BUBBA--ALABAMA STYLE!!!

      Much to my chagrin,I believe that you're right!

      November 10, 2010 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
      • The Prophet Mohammed

        Would you say you are more Bass Pro or Cabelas? Just wondering.

        November 14, 2010 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |