The July 2011 deadline to begin withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan is unrealistic and unhelpful, Afghan Ambassador Said Tayeb Jawad told CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday.
"First, if you over-emphasize a deadline that is not realistic, you are making the enemy a lot more bold," Jawad said. "You are prolonging the war. That deadline should be realistic. The line should be based on the reality on the ground and we should give a clear message to the enemy, to the terrorists who are a threat to everyone, that the United States, NATO, Afghans are there to finish this job."
He continued, "If that's not the feeling, we lost the support of the Afghan people, and also make the neighboring countries of interest a lot more bolder to interfere in Afghanistan."
President Barack Obama and Gen. David Petraeus, who has replaced Gen. Stanley McChrystal as the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, have said they would begin withdrawal in July 2011 depending on conditions on the ground.
Appearing on ABC's "This Week," Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, questioned the wisdom of a firm deadline to start withdrawing forces.
"I'm all for dates for withdrawal, but that's after the strategy succeeds, not before," said McCain, the Republican presidential candidate in 2008 who was in Afghanistan for the Fourth of July weekend.