British Prime Minister David Cameron Speaks to ABC's Diane Sawyer

I think we need to just be very clear about what we're trying to do in Afghanistan. Frankly, we're not trying to create the perfect democracy. We're never going to create some ideal society. We are simply there for our own national security. For your security here in the US, for our security in the U.K. That means having an Afghan government that is capable of securing its own country, and that is the key condition. That's the only condition we should really be putting on all of this. And that's why training the Afghan army so that we can bring our troops home is the key metric, if you like, that we should be trying to -- to measure.

DIANE SAWYER: And you have talked about 2015 for that date. Will you be out in 2015, no matter what?

DAVID CAMERON: What I've said is that 2015, just to reassure the British public that this is not never-ending, is that 2015, you know, by then, there will not be British combat troops. There will not be large numbers. Will we have a relationship with Afghanistan into the future, in terms of aid and governance and assistance and maybe even some military training? Yes, of course. I think part of the problem with both Afghanistan and Pakistan is too many times in the past, Britain and America and others have left them alone. And we need to have a long-term relationship with these countries.

But I think people have a right to know that this war stage, this fighting stage, this troop stage, is not going to go on forever. And what's interesting about the Kabul conference today is that has reaffirmed again this idea that it's 2040, that the training of the Afghan army should be completed by, so they should be able to take responsibility for their own security by that time.

DIANE SAWYER: Will there be enough forces? As you know, the Canadians are talking about withdrawing. Poland is talking about withdrawing. Australia is now talking about pulling out. Will there be enough forces to even transition out?

DAVID CAMERON: Well, we have a huge increase in the force numbers this year, compared with last year. I mean, I just -- I mean, I have a slightly Helmand-centric view of Afghanistan.

DIANE SAWYER: Where the British have been so --

DAVID CAMERON: --because that's where British, that's where the British have been fighting so hard and doing such a brilliant and brave job. But you know, there are now 10,000 British troops there. And there are now 20,000 US troops. Now that compares with, you know, last year or the year before, probably only a third of that number. So it's a massive increase that has taken place.

And that can make a difference. And the key is, while protecting more of the public, are we training up the Afghan army so they can take over? And what we're seeing recently is the Afghans actually running some military operations on their own. The Kabul conference is actually an Afghan-led conference which they have run, so the capacity of this state, and it's far from perfect. And Karzai's far from perfect. But the capacity is growing. And that, in the end, is what is going to enable us to come home and leave with our heads held high, because our national security will have been safeguarded. That's the key.

DIANE SAWYER: Despite the past disappointments in the ability to train up the Afghan forces, you're convinced this time -- this time it's going to happen.

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