Washington: The Obama Administration believes time is ripe for a “new chapter” in Afghanistan to achieve its goal of defeating Al-Qaeda and Taliban and has asked the Hamid Karzai government to take concrete action against corruption and build up the country’s security force.
This message has been conveyed to President Hamid Karzai and this is what the US authorities are working towards, the White House said on Tuesday.
“The President is anxious to see improvement,” White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said.
“We have made, obviously, important investments in the troops that we have put in Afghanistan, as well as through international assistance. I think the President understands that for any of our efforts to be successful it’s time for a new chapter in Afghan history,” Gibbs said.
He said the US goal to “dismantle, disrupt and ultimately destroy” Al-Qaeda remains unchanged.
Barack Obama, who has held five situation room meetings since mid-August on Afghanistan, Gibbs said is expected to meet his top military aides including Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, soon to go through the additional recommendations that the Pentagon is working through, he said.
However, Gibbs maintained that no decision has been taken when the new policy would be announced and said the decision might be coming in weeks.
Emphasising the need to set clear benchmarks for international assistance that is used to provide for the needs of the Afghan people, Gibbs said: “As the President reiterates, this is not just rhetoric; there have to be deliverables to this.”
“Both the Afghan National Army and the Afghan National Police ultimately are going to have to take charge of the security situation in the country. I’ve said this, the President has said this, that we’re not going to be there forever,” Gibbs said.
He said the Obama Administration has been evaluating the situation in Pakistan and how it relates to the relationship with Pakistan and the region as a whole in crafting a policy that addresses all of these things.