Obama Progress in Afghanistan

Thursday, December 16, 2010 - 3:12pm

President says gains have been made; draw-down could begin in July.

One year after President Obama ordered an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan, the White House is touting signs of progress.

"Thanks to the extraordinary service of our troops and civilians on the ground we are on track to achieve our goals," the president said Thursday.

Those goals include disrupting the Taliban and Al Qaeda and beginning troop withdrawal from Afghanistan next July.

The timeline for a full pull-out is still uncertain.

"The President has made it clear it will be conditions based, in terms of what that line looks like beyond 2011 - I think the answer is we don't know at this point," said Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

The five-page unclassified summary of the war review described gains as "fragile" and "reversible"- admitting progress has not been fast enough in Pakistan and outlining vast challenges ahead, at the end of what is the deadliest year for U.S. forces since the war began.

"I want to be clear this continues to be a very difficult endeavor," the president warned.

A new ABC/Washington Post poll shows a record 60 percent of Americans now say the war in Afghanistan has not been worth fighting, leaving the administration defending continued efforts- vowing not to waver, even as some aid groups predict violence will only increase in the coming year.

Republican leaders echoed the administration that the war in Afghanistan remains vital to security.

Meanwhile, the president pointed to his planned visit to Pakistan next year as one way the administration continues to work on cooperation in the region.


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