‘First and Foremost We’re Not Departing Afghanistan’


Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta laid out America’s military plans for a post-2014 Afghanistan Thursday during a joint press conference with Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

“We are going to maintain an enduring presence in Afghanistan beyond 2014,” Panetta said. “We will be there to provide support, to provide training, to provide assistance, to provide help on counter-terrorism” to the Afghan forces.

Secretary Panetta pointed to terrorist safe havens in Pakistan, Afghanistan’s neighbor, as a reason to maintain a military presence.

“I think it is very important for the international community, for Afghanistan, for the United States, to continue to put pressure on Pakistan to ensure that it does everything possible to eliminate [the] safe havens of terrorists on that side of the border. That is essential to achieving the kind of peace the kind of security that we think Afghanistan deserves.”