'This Week' Transcript: Don't Ask, Don't Tell


AMANPOUR: General Clark, all of you, thank you very much, indeed, for joining us. Unfortunately, we're out of time. There will be more opportunities to discuss this, and particularly to talk about all sides.

As we come up next, we have a special roundtable kicking off our special ABC News series on a status report on the military effort in Afghanistan.

And we'll also have analysis on what we learned from those State Department cables that were exposed by WikiLeaks.



OBAMA: We said we were going to break the Taliban's momentum, and that's what you're doing. We said a year ago that we're going to build the capacity of the Afghan people, and that's what you're doing. Because of the progress you're making, we look forward to a new phase next year, a beginning of a transition to Afghan responsibility.


AMANPOUR: That was President Obama speaking Friday to the troops at the Bagram Air Base, just north of Kabul in Afghanistan, making the case that his troop buildup, which he announced a year ago, is gaining momentum against the Taliban.

All this week, in a special series, ABC News will be assessing what progress has been made on the ground.

And joining me this morning to discuss Afghanistan and also WikiLeaks is George Will, former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan and to the United Nations and Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad, Zbigniew Brzezinski, the former national security adviser, and Sakena Yacoobi of the Afghan Institute of Learning, a women's and children's rights advocacy group.

Thank you all for being here. So, Afghanistan, your area of operations. Is enough progress being made that the administration can justify the surge, the policy that's been in effect for the last -- for the last year?

KHALILZAD: I think the situation is rather mixed. On the one hand, I think there is some improvement, localized improvement in security in certain areas, such as central Helmand or around Kabul. And there is also the growth in numbers of the Afghan security forces, another component of their approach.

AMANPOUR: Areas where the U.S. forces are now?

KHALILZAD: Yes, that's where the surge has -- has -- has been taking place. But when it comes to the two or three other key components required for success, the relations with the Afghan government, there hasn't really been any improvement; dealing with the sanctuaries in Pakistan, no real improvement; dealing with topics (ph) among the factions in Afghanistan itself, no real improvement. In fact, things have gotten worse because of the parliamentary election. There is greater internal polarization than was the case.

AMANPOUR: So what's this mean, then, for President Obama's timetable, for his policy?

BRZEZINSKI: I think it means that he doesn't have too much time. He himself has said, in effect, he has three years.


BRZEZINSKI: Three years is not much. But I think there's an added dimension that has to be taken into account, namely, is the society underneath this umbrella of warfare actually making some progress? Or is it deteriorating? Is there more commercial activity? Is there some growth in income, however modest? Is there some consolidation of degree of security for the Afghans?

These are the kind of more background factors that have to be taken into account if we're to make a judgment whether overall some progress is being made or overall there is a deterioration.

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...