Tue, 14 Jan 2014 12:00:00 GMT | By PTI

Barack Obama defends his Afghan strategy

After making it clear that he had faith in the Afghan mission, Obama said that the job was not yet done


Barack Obama defends his Afghan strategy (© Reuters)

Washington: Barack Obama has defended his war strategy and said that he had faith in the Afghan mission, after the US president's commitment to the Afghanistan war was criticised by former Defence Secretary Robert Gates in his new book.

"The good news is, is that because of that strategy that we came up with, by the end of this year we will have completed combat operations in Afghanistan," Obama told reporters on the eve of the release of the Gates's book.

"We are in a position to continue to assist the Afghan people in making sure that they have a stable country that is working on behalf of the Afghan people and that it is a good partner with us," Obama said.

Noting that the war is never easy, he said, all of those who have been involved in that process understand that. "But I want to emphasise that during his tenure here, Secretary Gates was an outstanding Secretary of Defense, a good friend of mine, and I'll always be grateful for his service," he said.

"I do think it's important for Americans to recognise that we still have young men and women in harm's way, along with coalition partners who are continuing to make sacrifices, and we need to see this job all the way through.

That is going to be the case through the end of this year, and we're going to continue to have significant interest in the region for years to come," the US President said.

In his book Gates writes that by the end of 2011 Obama had lost faith in the Afghan strategy and its commander. "Gates did an outstanding job for me as Secretary of Defense. As he notes, he and I and the rest of my national security team came up with a strategy for Afghanistan that was the right strategy and we are continuing to execute," he responded.

"I think that what's important is that we got the policy right, but that this is hard and it always has been. Whenever you've got men and women that you are sending into harm's way after having already made enormous investments of blood and treasure in another country.

Then part of your job as Commander-in-Chief is to sweat the details on it and to recognise that there's enormous sacrifices that are being made, and you're constantly asking yourselves questions about how you can improve the strategy," Obama said.

At his daily news conference, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney defended the Afghan policy of the Obama.

"The fact of the matter is, since he adopted it and moved forward and our troops and civilian personnel have been executing that mission, we have made enormous progress towards the very clear objectives that the President laid out and which were very much at the heart and very much for the purpose of refining a mission and strategy in Afghanistan," he said.


 

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