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RUEHRY/AMEMBASSY CONAKRY IMMEDIATE 2559-2579"    "UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 21 STATE 123222

 

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

 

C O R R E C T E D  COPY CAPTION

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PREL, AF, PK

SUBJECT: THE PRESIDENT'S ANNOUNCEMENT ON THE WAY

FORWARD IN AFGHANISTAN AND PAKISTAN: TEXT OF SPEECH,

FACT SHEET, AND QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

 

REFS:  (A) STATE 122731   (B) STATE 122234

 

 

1.  (SBU) Summary:  The President will announce his

decision on the way forward in Afghanistan and Pakistan

in an address to the nation from the United States

Military Academy at West Point on December 1 at 8:00

p.m. eastern standard time.  This cable contains

information which we hope will be useful to you in

engaging host governments, media, and the public after

the President's address.  The contents of the cable are

strictly embargoed until December 1 at 8:00 p.m. eastern

standard time.  Please see paragraph two for the text of

the President's speech; paragraphs three through seven

for the fact sheet describing the way forward in

Afghanistan and Pakistan; and paragraph eight for

questions and answers on the review and the President's

decision.  The questions and answers are for internal

use only and should not be released to the public.  The

fact sheet and transcript of the President's remarks

will be posted on the White House public website at

www.whitehouse.gov, along with translated versions in

several languages.  End Summary.

 

------------------------------

TEXT OF THE PRESIDENT'S SPEECH

------------------------------

 

2.  (SBU) Remarks of President Barack Obama: The Way

Forward in Afghanistan and Pakistan, West Point, New

York

 

BEGIN TEXT OF SPEECH.  Good evening.  To the United

States Corps of Cadets, to the men and women of our

armed services, and to my fellow Americans: I want to

speak to you tonight about our effort in Afghanistan

the nature of our commitment there, the scope of our

interests, and the strategy that my Administration will

pursue to bring this war to a successful conclusion.  It

is an honor for me to do so here  at West Point  where

so many men and women have prepared to stand up for our

security, and to represent what is finest about our

country.

 

To address these issues, it is important to recall why

America and our allies were compelled to fight a war in

Afghanistan in the first place. We did not ask for this

fight.  On September 11, 2001, nineteen men hijacked

four airplanes and used them to murder nearly 3,000

people. They struck at our military and economic nerve

centers. They took the lives of innocent men, women, and

children without regard to their faith or race or

station.  Were it not for the heroic actions of the

passengers on board one of those flights, they could

have also struck at one of the great symbols of our

democracy in Washington, and killed many more.

 

As we know, these men belonged to al-Qa'ida  a group of

extremists who have distorted and defiled Islam, one of

the world's great religions, to justify the slaughter of

innocents.  Al-Qa'ida's base of operations was in

Afghanistan, where they were harbored by the Taliban  a

ruthless, repressive and radical movement that seized

control of that country after it was ravaged by years of

Soviet occupation and civil war, and after the attention

of America and our friends had turned elsewhere.

 

Just days after 9/11, Congress authorized the use of

force against al-Qa'ida and those who harbored them  an

authorization that continues to this day.  The vote in

the Senate was 98 to 0.  The vote in the House was 420

to 1. For the first time in its history, the North

Atlantic Treaty Organization invoked Article 5  the

commitment that says an attack on one member nation is

an attack on all.  And the United Nations Security

Council endorsed the use of all necessary steps to

respond to the 9/11 attacks. America, our allies and the

world were acting as one to destroy al-Qa'ida's

terrorist network, and to protect our common security.

 

Under the banner of this domestic unity and

international legitimacy  and only after the Taliban

refused to turn over Osama bin Laden  we sent our

troops into Afghanistan.  Within a matter of months, al-

Qa'ida was scattered and many of its operatives were

killed.  The Taliban was driven from power and pushed

back on its heels.  A place that had known decades of

fear now had reason to hope.  At a conference convened

by the UN, a provisional government was established

under President Hamid Karzai.  And an International

Security Assistance Force was established to help bring

a lasting peace to a war-torn country.

 

Then, in early 2003, the decision was made to wage a

second war in Iraq.  The wrenching debate over the Iraq

War is well-known and need not be repeated here.  It is

enough to say that for the next six years, the Iraq War

drew the dominant share of our troops, our resources,

our diplomacy, and our national attention  and that the

decision to go into Iraq caused substantial rifts

between America and much of the world.

 

Today, after extraordinary costs, we are bringing the

Iraq war to a responsible end.  We will remove our

combat brigades from Iraq by the end of next summer, and

all of our troops by the end of 2011.  That we are doing

so is a testament to the character of our men and women

in uniform.  Thanks to their courage, grit and

perseverance, we have given Iraqis a chance to shape

their future, and we are successfully leaving Iraq to

its people.

 

But while we have achieved hard-earned milestones in

Iraq, the situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated.

After escaping across the border into Pakistan in 2001

and 2002, al-Qa'ida's leadership established a safe-

haven there. Although a legitimate government was

elected by the Afghan people, it has been hampered by

corruption, the drug trade, an under-developed economy,

and insufficient Security Forces.  Over the last several

years, the Taliban has maintained common cause with al-

Qa'ida, as they both seek an overthrow of the Afghan

government.  Gradually, the Taliban has begun to take

control over swaths of Afghanistan, while engaging in

increasingly brazen and devastating acts of terrorism

against the Pakistani people.

 

Throughout this period, our troop levels in Afghanistan

remained a fraction of what they were in Iraq. When I

took office, we had just over 32,000 Americans serving

in Afghanistan, compared to 160,000 in Iraq at the peak

of the war.  Commanders in Afghanistan repeatedly asked

for support to deal with the reemergence of the Taliban,

but these reinforcements did not arrive.  That's why,

shortly after taking office, I approved a long-standing

request for more troops. After consultations with our

allies, I then announced a strategy recognizing the

fundamental connection between our war effort in

Afghanistan, and the extremist safe-havens in Pakistan.

I set a goal that was narrowly defined as disrupting,

dismantling, and defeating al-Qa'ida and its extremist

allies, and pledged to better coordinate our military

and civilian effort.

 

Since then, we have made progress on some important

objectives.  High-ranking al-Qa'ida and Taliban leaders

have been killed, and we have stepped up the pressure on

al-Qa'ida world-wide.  In Pakistan, that nation's Army

has gone on its largest offensive in years.  In

Afghanistan, we and our allies prevented the Taliban

from stopping a presidential election, and  although it

was marred by fraud  that election produced a

government that is consistent with Afghanistan's laws

and Constitution.

 

Yet huge challenges remain. Afghanistan is not lost, but

for several years it has moved backwards. There is no

imminent threat of the government being overthrown, but

the Taliban has gained momentum.  Al-Qa'ida has not

reemerged in Afghanistan in the same numbers as before

9/11, but they retain their safe-havens along the

border. And our forces lack the full support they need

to effectively train and partner with Afghan Security

Forces and better secure the population.  Our new

Commander in Afghanistan  General McChrystal  has

reported that the security situation is more serious

than he anticipated. In short:  the status quo is not

sustainable.

 

As cadets, you volunteered for service during this time

of danger. Some of you have fought in Afghanistan. Many

will deploy there.  As your Commander-in-Chief, I owe

you a mission that is clearly defined, and worthy of

your service.  That is why, after the Afghan voting was

completed, I insisted on a thorough review of our

strategy.  Let me be clear: there has never been an

option before me that called for troop deployments

before 2010, so there has been no delay or denial of

resources necessary for the conduct of the war.

Instead, the review has allowed me ask the hard

questions, and to explore all of the different options

along with my national security team, our military and

civilian leadership in Afghanistan, and with our key

partners.  Given the stakes involved, I owed the

American people  and our troops  no less.

 

This review is now complete. And as Commander-in-Chief,

I have determined that it is in our vital national

interest to send an additional 30,000 U.S. troops to

Afghanistan.  After 18 months, our troops will begin to

come home.  These are the resources that we need to

seize the initiative, while building the Afghan capacity

that can allow for a responsible transition of our

forces out of Afghanistan.

 

I do not make this decision lightly.  I opposed the war

in Iraq precisely because I believe that we must

exercise restraint in the use of military force, and

always consider the long-term consequences of our

actions.  We have been at war for eight years, at

enormous cost in lives and resources.  Years of debate

over Iraq and terrorism have left our unity on national

security issues in tatters, and created a highly

polarized and partisan backdrop for this effort.  And

having just experienced the worst economic crisis since

the Great Depression, the American people are

understandably focused on rebuilding our economy and

putting people to work here at home.

 

Most of all, I know that this decision asks even more of

you - a military that, along with your families, has

already borne the heaviest of all burdens.  As

President, I have signed a letter of condolence to the

family of each American who gives their life in these

wars.  I have read the letters from the parents and

spouses of those who deployed.  I have visited our

courageous wounded warriors at Walter Reed.  I have

travelled to Dover to meet the flag-draped caskets of 18

Americans returning home to their final resting place.

I see firsthand the terrible wages of war.  If I did not

think that the security of the United States and the

safety of the American people were at stake in

Afghanistan, I would gladly order every single one of

our troops home tomorrow.

 

So no  I do not make this decision lightly.  I make

this decision because I am convinced that our security

is at stake in Afghanistan and Pakistan.  This is the

epicenter of the violent extremism practiced by al-

Qa'ida.  It is from here that we were attacked on 9/11,

and it is from here that new attacks are being plotted

as I speak.  This is no idle danger; no hypothetical

threat.  In the last few months alone, we have

apprehended extremists within our borders who were sent

here from the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan

to commit new acts of terror. This danger will only grow

if the region slides backwards, and al-Qa'ida can

operate with impunity.  We must keep the pressure on al-

Qa'ida, and to do that, we must increase the stability

and capacity of our partners in the region.

 

Of course, this burden is not ours alone to bear. This

is not just America's war.  Since 9/11, al-Qa'ida's

safe-havens have been the source of attacks against

London and Amman and Bali.  The people and governments

of both Afghanistan and Pakistan are endangered. And the

stakes are even higher within a nuclear-armed Pakistan,

because we know that al-Qa'ida and other extremists seek

nuclear weapons, and we have every reason to believe

that they would use them.

 

These facts compel us to act along with our friends and

allies.  Our overarching goal remains the same: to

disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al-Qa'ida in Afghanistan

and Pakistan, and to prevent its capacity to threaten

America and our allies in the future.

 

To meet that goal, we will pursue the following

objectives within Afghanistan.  We must deny al-Qa'ida a

safe-haven. We must reverse the Taliban's momentum and

deny it the ability to overthrow the government.  And we

must strengthen the capacity of Afghanistan's Security

Forces and government, so that they can take lead

responsibility for Afghanistan's future.

 

We will meet these objectives in three ways.  First, we

will pursue a military strategy that will break the

Taliban's momentum and increase Afghanistan's capacity.

The 30,000 additional troops that I am announcing

tonight will deploy in the first part of 2010  the

fastest pace possible  so that they can target the

insurgency and secure key population centers.  They will

increase our ability to train competent Afghan Security

Forces, and to partner with them so that more Afghans

can get into the fight.  And they will help create the

conditions for the United States to transfer

responsibility to the Afghans.

 

Because this is an international effort, I have asked

that our commitment be joined by contributions from our

allies. Some have already provided additional troops,

and we are confident that there will be further

contributions in the days and weeks ahead.  Our friends

have fought and bled and died alongside us in

Afghanistan. Now, we must come together to end this war

successfully.  For what's at stake is not simply a test

of NATO's credibility  what's at stake is the security

of our Allies, and the common security of the world.

 

Taken together, these additional American and

international troops will allow us to accelerate handing

over responsibility to Afghan forces, and allow us to

begin the transfer of our forces out of Afghanistan in

July of 2011.  Just as we have done in Iraq, we will

execute this transition responsibly, taking into account

conditions on the ground.  We will continue to advise

and assist Afghanistan's Security Forces to ensure that

they can succeed over the long haul.  But it will be

clear to the Afghan government  and, more importantly,

to the Afghan people  that they will ultimately be

responsible for their own country.

 

Second, we will work with our partners, the UN, and the

Afghan people to pursue a more effective civilian

strategy, so that the government can take advantage of

improved security.

 

This effort must be based on performance. The days of

providing a blank check are over.  President Karzai's

inauguration speech sent the right message about moving

in a new direction.  And going forward, we will be clear

about what we expect from those who receive our

assistance.  We will support Afghan Ministries,

Governors, and local leaders that combat corruption and

deliver for the people.  We expect those who are

ineffective or corrupt to be held accountable.  And we

will also focus our assistance in areas  such as

agriculture  that can make an immediate impact in the

lives of the Afghan people.

 

The people of Afghanistan have endured violence for

decades.  They have been confronted with occupation  by

the Soviet Union, and then by foreign al-Qa'ida fighters

who used Afghan land for their own purposes.  So

tonight, I want the Afghan people to understand

America seeks an end to this era of war and suffering.

We have no interest in occupying your country.  We will

support efforts by the Afghan government to open the

door to those Taliban who abandon violence and respect

the human rights of their fellow citizens.  And we will

seek a partnership with Afghanistan grounded in mutual

respect  to isolate those who destroy; to strengthen

those who build; to hasten the day when our troops will

leave; and to forge a lasting friendship in which

America is your partner, and never your patron.

 

Third, we will act with the full recognition that our

success in Afghanistan is inextricably linked to our

partnership with Pakistan.

 

We are in Afghanistan to prevent a cancer from once

again spreading through that country.  But this same

cancer has also taken root in the border region of

Pakistan.  That is why we need a strategy that works on

both sides of the border.

 

In the past, there have been those in Pakistan who have

argued that the struggle against extremism is not their

fight, and that Pakistan is better off doing little or

seeking accommodation with those who use violence.  But

in recent years, as innocents have been killed from

Karachi to Islamabad, it has become clear that it is the

Pakistani people who are the most endangered by

extremism. Public opinion has turned.  The Pakistani

Army has waged an offensive in Swat and South

Waziristan.  And there is no doubt that the United

States and Pakistan share a common enemy.

 

In the past, we too often defined our relationship with

Pakistan narrowly.  Those days are over. Moving forward,

we are committed to a partnership with Pakistan that is

built on a foundation of mutual interests, mutual

respect, and mutual trust.  We will strengthen

Pakistan's capacity to target those groups that threaten

our countries, and have made it clear that we cannot

tolerate a safe-haven for terrorists whose location is

known, and whose intentions are clear.  America is also

providing substantial resources to support Pakistan's

democracy and development.  We are the largest

international supporter for those Pakistanis displaced

by the fighting. And going forward, the Pakistani people

must know:  America will remain a strong supporter of

Pakistan's security and prosperity long after the guns

have fallen silent, so that the great potential of its

people can be unleashed.

 

These are the three core elements of our strategy: a

military effort to create the conditions for a

transition; a civilian surge that reinforces positive

action; and an effective partnership with Pakistan.

 

I recognize that there are a range of concerns about our

approach.  So let me briefly address a few of the

prominent arguments that I have heard, and which I take

very seriously.

 

First, there are those who suggest that Afghanistan is

another Vietnam.  They argue that it cannot be

stabilized, and we are better off cutting our losses and

rapidly withdrawing.  Yet this argument depends upon a

false reading of history.  Unlike Vietnam, we are joined

by a broad coalition of 43 nations that recognizes the

legitimacy of our action.  Unlike Vietnam, we are not

facing a broad-based popular insurgency.  And most

importantly, unlike Vietnam, the American people were

viciously attacked from Afghanistan, and remain a target

for those same extremists who are plotting along its

border.  To abandon this area now  and to rely only on

efforts against al-Qa'ida from a distance  would

significantly hamper our ability to keep the pressure on

al-Qa'ida, and create an unacceptable risk of additional

attacks on our homeland and our allies.

 

Second, there are those who acknowledge that we cannot

leave Afghanistan in its current state, but suggest that

we go forward with the troops that we have.  But this

would simply maintain a status quo in which we muddle

through, and permit a slow deterioration of conditions

there.  It would ultimately prove more costly and

prolong our stay in Afghanistan, because we would never

be able to generate the conditions needed to train

Afghan Security Forces and give them the space to take

over.

 

Finally, there are those who oppose identifying a

timeframe for our transition to Afghan responsibility.

Indeed, some call for a more dramatic and open-ended

escalation of our war effort  one that would commit us

to a nation building project of up to a decade.  I

reject this course because it sets goals that are beyond

what we can achieve at a reasonable cost, and what we

need to achieve to secure our interests.  Furthermore,

the absence of a timeframe for transition would deny us

any sense of urgency in working with the Afghan

government.  It must be clear that Afghans will have to

take responsibility for their security, and that America

has no interest in fighting an endless war in

Afghanistan.

 

As President, I refuse to set goals that go beyond our

responsibility, our means, our or interests.  And I must

weigh all of the challenges that our nation faces. I do

not have the luxury of committing to just one.  Indeed,

I am mindful of the words of President Eisenhower, who

in discussing our national security  said, ""Each

proposal must be weighed in the light of a broader

consideration: the need to maintain balance in and among

national programs.""

 

Over the past several years, we have lost that balance,

and failed to appreciate the connection between our

national security and our economy.  In the wake of an

economic crisis, too many of our friends and neighbors

are out of work and struggle to pay the bills, and too

many Americans are worried about the future facing our

children.  Meanwhile, competition within the global

economy has grown more fierce.  So we simply cannot

afford to ignore the price of these wars.

 

All told, by the time I took office the cost of the wars

in Iraq and Afghanistan approached a trillion dollars.

Going forward, I am committed to addressing these costs

openly and honestly.  Our new approach in Afghanistan is

likely to cost us roughly 30 billion dollars for the

military this year, and I will work closely with

Congress to address these costs as we work to bring down

our deficit.

 

But as we end the war in Iraq and transition to Afghan

responsibility, we must rebuild our strength here at

home. Our prosperity provides a foundation for our

power.  It pays for our military.  It underwrites our

diplomacy.  It taps the potential of our people, and

allows investment in new industry.  And it will allow us

to compete in this century as successfully as we did in

the last.  That is why our troop commitment in

Afghanistan cannot be open-ended  because the nation

that I am most interested in building is our own.

 

Let me be clear: none of this will be easy.  The

struggle against violent extremism will not be finished

quickly, and it extends well beyond Afghanistan and

Pakistan. It will be an enduring test of our free

society, and our leadership in the world.  And unlike

the great power conflicts and clear lines of division

that defined the 20th century, our effort will involve

disorderly regions and diffuse enemies.

 

So as a result, America will have to show our strength

in the way that we end wars and prevent conflict.  We

will have to be nimble and precise in our use of

military power.  Where al-Qa'ida and its allies attempt

to establish a foothold  whether in Somalia or Yemen or

elsewhere  they must be confronted by growing pressure

and strong partnerships.

 

And we cannot count on military might alone.  We have to

invest in our homeland security, because we cannot

capture or kill every violent extremist abroad.  We have

to improve and better coordinate our intelligence, so

that we stay one step ahead of shadowy networks.

 

We will have to take away the tools of mass destruction.

That is why I have made it a central pillar of my

foreign policy to secure loose nuclear materials from

terrorists; to stop the spread of nuclear weapons; and

to pursue the goal of a world without them.  Because

every nation must understand that true security will

never come from an endless race for ever-more

destructive weapons  true security will come for those

who reject them.

 

We will have to use diplomacy, because no one nation can

meet the challenges of an interconnected world acting

alone.  I have spent this year renewing our alliances

and forging new partnerships.  And we have forged a new

beginning between America and the Muslim World  one

that recognizes our mutual interest in breaking a cycle

of conflict, and that promises a future in which those

who kill innocents are isolated by those who stand up

for peace and prosperity and human dignity.

 

Finally, we must draw on the strength of our values

for the challenges that we face may have changed, but

the things that we believe in must not.  That is why we

must promote our values by living them at home  which

is why I have prohibited torture and will close the

prison at Guantanamo Bay.  And we must make it clear to

every man, woman and child around the world who lives

under the dark cloud of tyranny that America will speak

out on behalf of their human rights, and tend to the

light of freedom, and justice, and opportunity, and

respect for the dignity of all peoples.  That is who we

are.  That is the moral source of America's authority.

 

Since the days of Franklin Roosevelt, and the service

and sacrifice of our grandparents, our country has borne

a special burden in global affairs.  We have spilled

American blood in many countries on multiple continents.

We have spent our revenue to help others rebuild from

rubble and develop their own economies.  We have joined

with others to develop an architecture of institutions

from the United Nations to NATO to the World Bank  that

provide for the common security and prosperity of human

beings.

 

We have not always been thanked for these efforts, and

we have at times made mistakes.  But more than any other

nation, the United States of America has underwritten

global security for over six decades  a time that, for

all its problems, has seen walls come down, markets

open, billions lifted from poverty, unparalleled

scientific progress, and advancing frontiers of human

liberty.

 

For unlike the great powers of old, we have not sought

world domination. Our union was founded in resistance to

oppression.  We do not seek to occupy other nations.  We

will not claim another nation's resources or target

other peoples because their faith or ethnicity is

different from ours.  What we have fought for  and what

we continue to fight for  is a better future for our

children and grandchildren, and we believe that their

lives will be better if other peoples' children and

grandchildren can live in freedom and access

opportunity.

 

As a country, we are not as young  and perhaps not as

innocent  as we were when Roosevelt was President.  Yet

we are still heirs to a noble struggle for freedom.  Now

we must summon all of our might and moral suasion to

meet the challenges of a new age.

 

In the end, our security and leadership does not come

solely from the strength of our arms.  It derives from

our people  from the workers and businesses who will

rebuild our economy; from the entrepreneurs and

researchers who will pioneer new industries; from the

teachers that will educate our children, and the service

of those who work in our communities at home; from the

diplomats and Peace Corps volunteers who spread hope

abroad; and from the men and women in uniform who are

part of an unbroken line of sacrifice that has made

government of the people, by the people, and for the

people a reality on this Earth.

 

This vast and diverse citizenry will not always agree on

every issue  nor should we.  But I also know that we,

as a country, cannot sustain our leadership nor navigate

the momentous challenges of our time if we allow

ourselves to be split asunder by the same rancor and

cynicism and partisanship that has in recent times

poisoned our national discourse.

 

It is easy to forget that when this war began, we were

united  bound together by the fresh memory of a

horrific attack, and by the determination to defend our

homeland and the values we hold dear.  I refuse to

accept the notion that we cannot summon that unity

again.  I believe with every fiber of my being that we

as Americans  can still come together behind a common

purpose.  For our values are not simply words written

into parchment  they are a creed that calls us

together, and that has carried us through the darkest of

storms as one nation, one people.

 

America  we are passing through a time of great trial.

And the message that we send in the midst of these

storms must be clear: that our cause is just, our

resolve unwavering.  We will go forward with the

confidence that right makes might, and with the

commitment to forge an America that is safer, a world

that is more secure, and a future that represents not

the deepest of fears but the highest of hopes.  Thank

you, God Bless you, God Bless our troops, and may God

Bless the United States of America.  END TEXT OF SPEECH.

 

--------------------------------------------- ----------

FACT SHEET: The Way Forward in Afghanistan and Pakistan

--------------------------------------------- ----------

 

3.  (SBU) Our Mission:  The President's speech reaffirms

the March 2009 core goal:  to disrupt, dismantle, and

eventually defeat al-Qa'ida and to prevent their return

to either Afghanistan or Pakistan.  To do so, we and our

allies will surge our forces, targeting elements of the

insurgency and securing key population centers, training

Afghan forces, transferring responsibility to a capable

Afghan partner, and increasing our partnership with

Pakistanis who are facing the same threats.

 

This region is the heart of the global violent extremism

pursued by al-Qa'ida, and the region from which we were

attacked on 9/11.  New attacks are being planned there

now, a fact borne out by a recent plot, uncovered and

disrupted by American authorities.  We will prevent the

Taliban from turning Afghanistan back into a safe haven

from which international terrorists can strike at us or

our allies.  This would pose a direct threat to the

American homeland, and that is a threat that we cannot

tolerate.  Al-Qa'ida remains in Pakistan where they

continue to plot attacks against us and where they and

their extremist allies pose a threat to the Pakistani

state.  Our goal in Pakistan will be to ensure that al-

Qa'ida is defeated and Pakistan remains stable.

 

4.  (SBU) Review Process:  The review was a deliberate

and disciplined three-stage process to check alignment

of goals, methods for attaining those goals, and finally

resources required.  Over ten weeks, the President

chaired nine meetings with his national security team,

and consulted key allies and partners, including the

governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan.  The President

focused on asking the hard questions, took the time to

carefully consider all of the options, and united a

variety of competing views in his cabinet before

agreeing to send any additional Americans to war.

 

As a result of the review, we have focused our mission

and developed a common understanding regarding our

regional approach and the need for international

support.  We will deploy forces into Afghanistan rapidly

and will take advantage of these additional resources to

create the conditions to begin to draw down combat

forces in the summer of 2011, while maintaining a

partnership with Afghanistan and Pakistan to protect our

enduring interests in that region.

 

The meetings were focused on how best to ensure the al-

Qa'ida threat is eliminated from the region and that

regional stability is restored.  We looked closely at

the alignment of our efforts and the balance between

civilian and military resources, both in Pakistan and

Afghanistan, and the efforts of the U.S. and the

international community.

 

A number of issues were explored in depth:  national

interests, core objectives and goals, counterterrorism

priorities, safe havens for terrorist groups in

Pakistan, the health of the global U.S. military force,

risks and costs associated with troop deployments,

global deployment requirements, international

cooperation and commitments for both Afghanistan and

Pakistan, and Afghan capacity in all areas to include

Afghan security forces, central and sub-national

governance and corruption (including the narcotics

trade), and development and economic issues.

 

5.  (SBU) What Has Changed Since March:  Since the

President announced our renewed commitment in March, a

number of key developments led the Administration to

review its approach in Afghanistan and Pakistan:  new

attention was focused on Afghanistan and Pakistan, new

U.S. leadership was established in Afghanistan, Pakistan

increased its efforts to combat extremists, and the

situation in Afghanistan has become more grave.

 

The United States assigned new civilian and military

leadership in Afghanistan, with the appointments of

Ambassador Karl Eikenberry as U.S. Ambassador to

Afghanistan, and General Stanley McChrystal as the new

Commander of ISAF military forces in Afghanistan.  Upon

arrival in Afghanistan, both Ambassador Eikenberry and

General McChrystal recognized that after eight years of

underresourcing, the situation was worse than expected.

Together, Ambassador Eikenberry and General McChyrstal

published a new Civilian-Military Campaign Plan to

integrate U.S. efforts across the country.

 

Afghanistan's difficult, extended election process and

evident signs of the absence of rule of law made clear

the limits of the central government in Kabul.

 

Meanwhile, in Pakistan, the Pakistanis showed new

resolve in defeating militants who had taken control of

the Swat Valley, just 60 miles from Islamabad.

Pakistani political leaders including opposition party

leaders came together to support the Pakistani military

operations.  This fall, the Pakistanis expanded their

fight against extremists into the Mehsud tribal areas of

South Waziristan along the border with Afghanistan.

 

6.  (SBU) The Way Forward:  The President has decided to

deploy an additional 30,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan.

These troops will deploy on an accelerated timeline to

reinforce the 68,000 Americans and 39,000 non-U.S. ISAF

troops already there, so that we can target the

insurgency, break its momentum, and better secure

population centers.  These forces will increase our

capacity to train effective Afghan Security Forces, and

to partner with them so that more Afghans get into the

fight.  And by pursuing these partnerships, we can

transition to Afghan responsibility, and begin to reduce

our combat troops in the summer of 2011.  In short,

these resources will allow us to make the final push

that is necessary to train Afghans so that we can

transfer responsibility.

 

We will maintain this increased force level for the next

18 months. During this time, we will regularly measure

our progress.  And beginning in July 2011, we will

transfer lead security responsibility to Afghans and

start to transition our combat forces out of

Afghanistan.  As Afghans take on responsibility for

their security, we will continue to advise and assist

Afghanistan's Security Forces, and maintain a

partnership on behalf of their security so that they can

sustain this effort.  Afghans are tired of war and long

for peace, justice, and economic security.  We intend to

help them achieve these goals and end this war and the

threat of reoccupation by the foreign fighters

associated with al-Qa'ida.

 

We will not be in this effort alone.  We will continue

to be joined in the fight by the Afghans, and the

aggressive partnering effort envisioned by General

McChrystal will get more Afghans into the fight for

their country's future.  There will also be additional

resources from NATO.  These allies have already made

significant commitments of their own in Afghanistan, and

we will be discussing additional alliance contributions

in troops, trainers, and resources  in the days and

weeks ahead.  This is not simply a test of the

alliance's credibility  what is at stake is even more

fundamental.  It is the security of London and Madrid;

of Paris and Berlin; of Prague, New York, and our

broader collective security.

 

We will work with our partners, the United Nations, and

the Afghan people to strengthen our civilian effort, so

that Afghanistan's government can step in as we

establish better security.  President Karzai's

inauguration speech sent the right message about moving

in a new direction, including his commitment to

reintegration and reconciliation, improving relations

with Afghanistan's regional partners, and steadily

increasing the security responsibilities of Afghan

security forces.  But we must see action and progress.

We will be clear about our expectations, and we will

encourage and reinforce Afghan Ministries, Governors,

and local leaders who deliver for the people and combat

corruption.  We will not reinforce those who are not

accountable and not acting in the service of the Afghan

people and the state.  And we will also focus our

assistance in areas  such as agriculture  that can

make an immediate impact in the lives of the Afghan

people.

 

7.  (SBU) Civilian Assistance:  A continuing significant

increase in civilian experts will accompany a sizable

infusion of additional civilian assistance.  They will

partner with Afghans over the long term to enhance the

capacity of national and sub-national government

institutions and to help rehabilitate Afghanistan's key

economic sectors so that Afghans can defeat the

insurgents who promise only more violence.

 

Growth is critical to undermine extremists' appeal in

the short term and for sustainable economic development

in the long term.  Our top reconstruction priority is

implementing a civilian-military agriculture

redevelopment strategy to restore Afghanistan's once

vibrant agriculture sector.  This will help sap the

insurgency of fighters and of income from poppy

cultivation.

 

An emphasis of our governance efforts will be on

developing more responsive, visible, and accountable

institutions at the provincial, district, and local

level, where everyday Afghans encounter their

government.  We will also encourage and support the

Afghan Government's reinvigorated plans to fight

corruption, with concrete measures of progress toward

greater accountability.

 

A key element of our political strategy will be

supporting Afghan-led efforts to reintegrate Taliban who

renounce al-Qa'ida, lay down their arms, and engage in

the political process.

 

8.  (SBU) Our Partner in Pakistan:  Our partnership with

Pakistan is inextricably linked to our efforts in

Afghanistan.  To secure our country, we need a strategy

that works on both sides of the Afghanistan-Pakistan

border.  The costs of inaction are far greater.

 

The United States is committed to strengthening

Pakistan's capacity to target those groups that pose the

greatest threat to both of our countries.  A safe haven

for those high-level terrorists whose location is known,

and whose intentions are clear, cannot be tolerated.

For Pakistan, we continue to encourage civilian and

military leadership to sustain their fight against

extremists and to eliminate terrorists' safe havens in

their country.

 

We are now focused on working with Pakistan's democratic

institutions, deepening the ties among our governments

and people for our common interests and concerns.  We

are committed to a strategic relationship with Pakistan

for the long term.  We have affirmed this commitment to

Pakistan by providing $1.5 billion each year over the

next five years to support Pakistan's development and

democracy, and have led a global effort to rally

additional pledges of support.  This sizable, long-term

commitment of assistance addresses the following

objectives:

 

(1) Helping Pakistan address immediate energy, water,

and related economic crises, thereby deepening our

partnership with the Pakistani people and decreasing the

appeal of extremists;

 

(2) Supporting broader economic reforms that are

necessary to put Pakistan on a path towards sustainable

job creation and economic growth, which is necessary for

long-term Pakistani stability and progress; and

 

(3) Helping Pakistan build on its success against

militants to eliminate extremist sanctuaries that

threaten Pakistan, Afghanistan, the wider region, and

people around the world.

 

----------------------------------

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS  THE REVIEW

----------------------------------

 

9.  (SBU) Why Review?

 

-   In the six months after the strategy was announced

in March, several important factors changed:

 

-   New U.S leaders were assigned to Afghanistan, with

both a new Ambassador and a new NATO commander

arriving in Kabul;

 

-   The Taliban proved resilient as General McChrystal

reported in his assessment;

 

-   Across the border, Pakistanis took the fight to the

extremists that threatened their state; and

 

-   The Afghan election process highlighted serious

questions of corruption which hampers effective

governance in Afghanistan.

What is the President's decision?

 

-   Our overall goal remains consistent:  ""to disrupt,

dismantle, and eventually defeat al-Qa'ida and to

prevent their return to either Afghanistan or

Pakistan.""

 

-   This more focused strategy includes four main

objectives for Afghanistan:

 

-   Targeting the insurgency to prevent a return of al-

Qa'ida and the Taliban's overthrow of the Afghan

Government.

 

-   Denying the insurgency access to and control of key

population centers.

 

-   Training Afghan forces so that they can secure

their own country.

 

-   Transferring responsibility for security to

Afghanistan by creating conditions that will allow

us to reduce the U.S. and international force level

in Afghanistan beginning in 2011.

 

-   Our strategy is refined to reflect changing

regional realities, and our desire to send a clear

message of international resolve to our allies and

the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan,

demonstrated by:

 

-   Serious long-term investments in our partnership

with Pakistan and redoubling efforts to assist

Pakistan in its fight against extremists.

 

-   Working in Afghanistan toward realistic and

targeted improvements in security, governance, and

development, which are focused on key ministries in

the center and specific sub-national elements of

government.

 

-   As the President said in March:  ""Going forward, we

will not blindly stay the course.  Instead, we will

set clear metrics to measure progress and hold

ourselves accountable.  We'll consistently assess

our efforts to train Afghan security forces and our

progress in combating insurgents.  We will measure

the growth of Afghanistan's economy, and its

illicit narcotics production.  And we will review

whether we are using the right tools and tactics to

make progress towards accomplishing our goals.""

Why are we adding tens of thousands of additional troops

into Afghanistan when al-Qa'ida is not there?  Why are

you proposing this enormous military footprint in

Afghanistan when there are all sorts of other places

that al-Qa'ida actually is  e.g., Somalia, Yemen,

Pakistan, etc.?

 

-   Al-Qa'ida designed the 9/11 attack in Afghanistan.

 

-   Afghanistan remains vulnerable to al-Qa'ida

reestablishing safe havens.

 

-   The terrain, strategic location, and governance

structures of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border

region make it uniquely attractive and useful as a

safe haven for al-Qa'ida.

 

What is different about the new approach?

 

-   Target, Train and Transfer:  The new plan gets more

troops into the region  a surge  sooner than

initially anticipated.  It will allow us to target

insurgent forces.  By relying on the partnering

plan outlined by General McChrystal, it also

accelerates the timeline for building the Afghan

security forces.  With more capable Afghan National

Security Forces, we are creating the conditions to

begin to hand over the main responsibility for

security to Afghan forces starting July 2011.

 

-   Pakistan:  Pakistani political leadersincluding

opposition party leaderscame together to support

the Pakistani military operations.  This fall, the

Pakistanis expanded their fight against extremists

into the Mehsud tribal areas of South Waziristan

along the border with Afghanistan.  Our strategy

recognizes this shift and is designed to deepen our

partnership with Pakistan as we redouble our

efforts to assist the Pakistanis in their fight

against our common enemy, the extremists.

 

-   International Engagement:  The new implementation

guidance places greater emphasis on an

international contribution to Afghanistan, asking

our allies to do more to support the civilian

government and the growth of the Afghan National

Army and Afghan National Police.

 

-   Governance:  The new plan puts the emphasis on the

Afghan Government to assume greater responsibility

for combating corruption, improving governance and

providing security for the Afghan people.

If you are stating that you are withdrawing in 2011,

won't the enemy just wait us out? Aren't you signaling a

lack of resolve to the Afghans and the enemy?

 

-   Let's be clear here.  Since President Obama came

into office, he has nearly tripled the amount of

U.S. forces and civilians in Afghanistan.  Our U.S.

commitment speaks for itself.  This commitment,

however, cannot and should not be open-ended.  The

Afghan National Security Forces and Afghan people

are capable and want to be self-governing and self-

securing.  We will help them set the conditions

over the next two years so that we can begin to

transfer responsibility to them for security in

July 2011.

 

Why did the review take so long?

 

-   This review looked at the problem from all

directions and represented a whole of government

approach. The President  by his deep personal

engagement  took a team with a range of views on

this matter and developed a consensus approach that

creates an all-of-government effort in Afghanistan.

 

-   The process was a serious look at the situation on

the ground, the assumptions under which we were

operating, and our goals and objectives in

Afghanistan and Pakistan.  The President led a

serious review, ensured all views were heard, asked

the central and important questions that forced

members of his national security team to challenge

their own staffs to think hard about the problem

and even harder about the solutions.

 

-   The President wanted to make sure that his effort

to get the strategy right honored the men and

women, military and civilian, U.S. and allied, who

are risking their lives to implement it on the

ground  as well as to our allies in Afghanistan,

Pakistan, and elsewhere in the region, who are

counting on this international effort to ensure

regional security that goes far beyond the borders

of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

 

-   No additional units were sought before 2010, so the

review did not result in any delay in getting

additional troops into Afghanistan.

Why should the American people support this revised

strategy?

 

-   Affording al-Qa'ida and its extremists allies an

unchallenged safe haven in Afghanistan or Pakistan

puts the United States and our allies around the

world at an unacceptable level of risk.

 

-   This strategy ensures that we are clearly focused

on al-Qa'ida and the threat it poses to the

Homeland.

 

What is our strategy in Pakistan?

 

-   Our partnership with Pakistan is linked to our

efforts in Afghanistan.  To secure our country, we

need a strategy that works on both sides of the

border to ensure that al-Qa'ida cannot count on a

safe haven in Afghanistan or Pakistan from which it

plans attacks on us or our interests.

 

-   The United States is committed to strengthening

Pakistan's capacity to target those groups that

pose the greatest threat to both of our countries.

A safe haven for those high-level terrorists whose

location is known, and whose intentions are clear,

cannot be tolerated.

 

-   Defeating these extremists requires a partnership

with Pakistan.  This strategy affirms that

partnership by providing $1.5 billion each year

over the next five years to support Pakistan's

development and democracy.  The United States has

led a global effort to rally additional pledges of

support.

 

What is our new strategy in Afghanistan?

 

-   We have a vital interest in Afghanistan and

Pakistan.  We must keep the pressure on al-Qa'ida,

and we must bring stability to the region.  This is

the wellspring of the violent extremism practiced

by al-Qa'ida.  It is from here that we were

attacked on 9/11.  It is from here that new attacks

are being plotted as we speak.  This is no idle

danger, nor hypothetical threat.  In the last few

months alone, we have apprehended extremists within

our borders who were sent here from these safe

havens to commit acts of terrorism.

 

-   This danger will only grow if the region slides

backwards, and al-Qa'ida can operate with impunity.

And this burden is not ours alone to bear.  This is

not just America's war.  Since 9/11, al-Qa'ida's

safe havens have been the source of attacks against

London and Amman and Bali.  The people and

governments of both Afghanistan and Pakistan are

endangered. And the stakes are even higher within a

nuclear-armed Pakistan, because we know that

al-Qa'ida and their allies seek nuclear weapons,

and we have every reason to believe that they would

use them.

 

-   These facts compel us to act.  And our overarching

goal remains the same:  to disrupt, dismantle, and

defeat al-Qa'ida in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and

to prevent its capacity to threaten America and our

allies from either country in the future.

 

-   To meet that goal, we will pursue the following

objectives within Afghanistan.  We must deny al-

Qa'ida a safe haven.  We must reverse the Taliban's

momentum and deny it the ability to control

population centers.  And we must strengthen the

capacity of Afghanistan's National Security Forces

and government, so that they can take the lead and

take responsibility for Afghanistan's future.

Is the new approach COIN or CT?

 

-   The situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan is

complex requiring a multi-disciplined approach.  It

includes elements of counterterrorism and

counterinsurgency.

 

-   The President has committed the resources to

degrade the Taliban and ensure it does not

overthrow the Afghan Government.

 

-   At the same time, we are expanding our

counterterrorism campaign.

 

-   The new approach draws on the expertise of General

Petraeus  the country's foremost expert on COIN

and General McChrystal  the country's foremost

expert on counterterrorism, and is reinforced by

Ambassador Eikenberry, who has served three tours

in Afghanistan in both civilian and military

capacities.  We will use both approaches to target

extremists, train new security forces, and transfer

authority to a capable Afghan force.

The American public seems to no longer support sending

troops to Afghanistan - is it time to leave?

 

-   The President recognizes that this may not be the

most popular decision, including within his own

party.  But he is committed to keeping the American

people safe. And this strategy will keep the heat

on al-Qa'ida, which still seeks to do us harm,

while more rapidly training Afghans to assume

security operations in their own country.  As we

transition to Afghan lead, we will begin to bring

our troops home.

I have heard analysts say that al-Qa'ida is in Pakistan

and not in Afghanistan.  Why aren't we focusing more on

Pakistan?

 

-   We are focusing on both Pakistan and Afghanistan.

We are working closely with the Pakistani military

to support their efforts to country extremists in

their territory, while continuing to train Afghans

so that al-Qa'ida will not have a safe haven in

either country.

 

-   We have a vital interest in Afghanistan and

Pakistan.  We must keep the pressure on al-Qa'ida,

and we must bring stability to the region.  It is

from here that we were attacked on 9/11.  It is

from here that new attacks are being plotted as we

speak.  This is no idle danger, nor hypothetical

threat.  In the last few months alone, we have

apprehended extremists within our borders who were

sent here from these safe havens to commit acts of

terrorism. President Karzai has done little to

demonstrate that he has changed.  Why should we invest

further in Afghanistan without first seeing progress

in improving Afghanistan governance from Karzai?

 

-   In his inauguration speech, President Karzai

announced a new chapter with the Afghan people and

outlined a new Compact with his people focused on

improving governance, reducing corruption,

reintegrating insurgents who wish to come back into

Afghan society, enhancing economic development, and

helping Afghanistan establish its role in the

region.

 

-   In the area of corruption, President Karzai has

already established a Major Crimes Task Force and

an Anti-Corruption Tribunal, demonstrating his

commitment to fighting corruption.

 

-   President Karzai has publicly and privately

expressed his desire for progress in these key

areas in Afghanistan in the months and years ahead,

and renewed his commitment to serve the Afghan

people who have reelected him as their President.

We will continue to demand results from the Afghan

Government and will ensure that our investments are

targeted to well-functioning and transparent

institutions and individuals.

 

This year, Afghanistan became the second most corrupt

nation in the world, ranking 179th out of 180 countries

on Transparency International's 2009 Corruption

Perceptions Index, falling from 176th in 2008 and 172nd

in 2007.  Why hasn't the United States been able to

reduce corruption in Afghanistan, and what does the

United States intend to do differently under the new

strategy?

 

-   The United States Government recognizes that the

high level of corruption in Afghanistan undermines

security, development, and rule of law objectives,

undermines the legitimacy of the Afghan Government,

and contributes to the country's illicit narcotics

trade.

 

-   In his inauguration speech, President Karzai has

announced his desire to address corruption and

recently announced the establishment of a Major

Crimes Task Force (MCTF) and the Anti-Corruption

Tribunal (ACT).  He also announced plans to reform

the existing High Office of Oversight.

 

-   President Karzai has publicly and privately

expressed his desire for progress in these key

areas in Afghanistan in the months and years ahead,

and renewed his commitment to serve the Afghan

people who have reelected him as their President.

We will continue to demand results from the Afghan

Government and will ensure that our investments are

targeted to well-functioning and transparent

institutions and individuals.

We haven't seen much progress in building the Afghan

police and military in the past few years?  Why should

we believe that we will be able to hand over to Afghans

anytime soon?

 

-   Training efforts to date have been underresourced,

and the plan developed by General McChrystal draws

on the lessons learned from Iraq.

 

-   General McChrystal's plan calls for us and our

allies to accelerate our efforts to build the

Afghan National Security Forces, and calls for a

substantial increase in trainers and support to

grow the Afghan National Security Forces.

 

-   Until this year, training the Afghan National

Security Forces was not a priority and not properly

resourced.  We have not yet begun to feel the full

effect of the 4,000 new U.S. trainers we deployed

in September.  Increased participation by our NATO

allies in training efforts, focused leadership

development, expanded training units, and other

efforts aimed at improving retention within the

forces, will accelerate progress.

 

We have heard a lot about the disagreement between

General McChrystal and Ambassador Eikenberry.  What has

been the reaction of Ambassador Eikenberry and General

McChrystal to the President's decision?  Will the

additional resources and guidance meet General

McChrystal's needs as outlined in his assessment?

 

-   General McChrystal and Ambassador Eikenberry

released statements affirming their commitment to

our mission in Afghanistan.

 

-   The President has full confidence in General

McChrystal and Ambassador Eikenberry.

 

-   They will testify together soon after the

President's announcement.

 

Your own Ambassador to Afghanistan questioned the wisdom

of adding new troops.  Why was Ambassador Eikenberry

wrong?

 

-   You know, the President did bring together people

with a range of views on this effort.  And over the

course of 10 meetings and 30 hours of

deliberations, he brought them together to a

consensus, all-of-government approach on one of the

world's most volatile regions.

 

-   Ambassador Eikenberry fully supports General

McChrystal's assessment and has never opposed the

addition of troops, which are necessary to bolster

the Afghan National Security Forces.  He fully

supports the President's decision.  Ambassador

Eikenberry was a key participant of the review

process, and he expressed his views fully and

privately.

 

Can Congress have access to the Eikenberry cables?  If

not, why not?

 

-   Ambassador Eikenberry will be available to discuss

his viewpoints with Members.

 

-   His communications were part of a confidential,

presidential deliberative process.

 

What is the political solution in Afghanistan?  We were

hoping for an Afghan President with a mandate from the

electorate and the legitimacy that entails.  We don't

have that; so can we achieve our mission with this

current Afghan Government?

 

-   President Karzai has an extraordinarily difficult

job.  He had important accomplishments during his

first term, but there were also disappointments.

We welcome President Karzai's inaugural commitment

to working towards our common goals in security,

providing services to the Afghan people, anti-

corruption, and economic reconstruction.

 

-   Governance is not just about Kabul or President

Karzai; legitimacy is not just about elections.

 

-   Our new strategy recognizes the political

dimensions of the Afghan conflict.  It supports

Afghan Government efforts to reintegrate those

willing to renounce al-Qa'ida, lay down arms, and

participate in the free and open society enshrined

in Afghan constitution.

 

President Karzai has as his Vice President a known

warlord and as a key backer an accused war criminal.

How can the United States Government do business with

these kinds of people?

 

-   In recent years, President Karzai has appointed

competent ministers in key ministries, and we will

continue to partner with such ministers.

 

-   The face of the Afghan Government for many Afghans

is their local leadership, tribal elders, or

religious figures, not the central government.

 

-   Our new strategy is to expand our partnership with

these and other sub-national actors and

institutions, in coordination with the national

government.

 

What steps will you take to make sure our own aid and

contracting doesn't fuel corruption?

 

-   Given the great amount of resources devoted to

Afghanistan, our programs and processes receive

extraordinary measures of oversight, including by a

Special Inspector General for Afghanistan

Reconstruction.

 

-   USAID programs have been audited multiple times,

and "

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