Obama: US does not Seek Permanent Bases in Afghanistan

President Obama said on Friday that the US has no long-term goal of keeping US troops in Afghanistan. (See below).

In contrast to Obama’s pronouncements on getting out of Iraq, he has not announced a timetable for withdrawal from Afghanistan. (The full text of Obama’s remarks on the withdrawal from Iraq is here.)

Meanwhile, the Afghan Interior Minister estimated Friday that there are 10,000 to 15,000 Taliban guerrillas active across 17 provinces. (This is a big increase from a couple of years ago, when the estimates were 3,000 – 5,000).

Afghan president Hamid Karzai may call snap elections for April, rather than waiting until August.

Aljazeera English reports on a demonstration in Ghazni Province against the US and NATO. The crowd say they were upset about a NATO bombing of a mosque. The USG denies that there were GIs operating in that area:

Wikileaks discovered that the password for several pages on how to finesse reporters regarding Afghanistan at the Pentagon web site was “progress.” What a weak password. Anyway, they posted the documents, which give some insight into how the Department of Defense hopes to influence the public on the Afghanistan War.

Brave New Films is launching a new film on Afghanistan that asks what exactly the US’s objectives there are:

Obama’s interview with Jim Lehrer on the planned Iraq pullout and other issues is here:

Clip 1 (Iraq):

and here:

Clip 2 (Challenges):

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