W.H.: Next President Will Be in ‘Much Better Position’ To Handle Afghanistan
"So you recall that even in the discussion and debate around Afghanistan in 2008 campaign, the suggestion was not that the United States should be precipitously withdrawing our troops from Afghanistan. But rather, the president was actually making a proactive case that insufficient attention and resources have been dedicated to decimating core al Qaeda, and confronting the threat posed by al Qaeda that emanates from Afghanistan and broader region ...
We have acknowledged over the last year the significance of the first democratic transfer of power in the long history of the nation of Afghanistan. And of course, the mission that was successfully carried out to take Osama bin Laden off the battle field would not have been possible without the investment and progress that the United States and the coalition partners have made inside of Afghanistan. So, as the next president takes over in 2017, that president will be in a much better position to confront the challenges of Afghanistan, in much better position to accomplish the goal we'd all like to see, which is the a stable Afghanistan with a stable central movement and a fighting force that can succeed in providing for the security of the nation. As the president observed, I don't think embedded visions of Jeffersonian democracy, but certainly a place that is in a much better shape and poses much less of a risk to the United States than the Afghanistan that existed in January of 2009.
And that is what the president promised that he would do as a candidate for president in 2008, and we've made a remarkable progress toward that goal. And I think at the same time the president acknowledged in the Roosevelt room today that there is an important work that needs to be done, both in terms of continuing our counterterrorism operations, continuing to build capacity of Afghan national security forces, and facilitating the kind of reconciliation between the Afghans and the Taliban that would reduce violence in that country."