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

DAVID CAMERON: Well, I don't think that -- I mean, frankly, we wasted too much time in Afghanistan. You know, we went in in 2001. We removed the Taliban regime. And then tragically, particularly after Iraq, the world looked the other way. And we wasted years in Afghanistan. And we're making up for that wasted time now.

And for too long, we weren't pursuing the right strategy. For too long, we didn't have all the pieces in place. I profoundly believe now, at least we have got the pieces in place. We've got the correct number of troops in Afghanistan. We've got aid going into Afghanistan. And one of the things I'll be discussing with the president today is the political track of actually encouraging people that have been fighting for the insurgents to rejoin the political process, put down their arms and pursue their goals through peaceful means. That is now beginning to happen.

And you know, if you think of how we've ended insurgencies across the world, there tends to be some politics at the end of this, rather than just military struggles. I mean, in the U.K., I sit down around a table with Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams, people who were trying to kill my predecessors, you know? That is including people into a political process who were once insurgents. And that has to happen in Afghanistan as well.

DIANE SAWYER: The Taliban, one of the Taliban leaders said that an enemy talking timetables of withdrawal is an enemy that has failed.

DAVID CAMERON: Well, I don't accept that, because the truth is that the only timetable I'm talking about is saying to the British people, you know, be clear by 2015, so we're not there. That is five years away, in what has already been a very, very long conflict. And I think you can see this year, with the increase in the troop numbers, the training in the Afghan army, the impetus, the momentum is very much with the allies and what they're doing.

DIANE SAWYER: Must make note of, not to mention the casualties, 321, perhaps more, fatalities among British troops. And we have seen those incredible scenes of the hearses in the village streets with the veterans --


DIANE SAWYER: --saluting them as they go by. What do you do, now that you are prime minister, for each of those? What do you do when you're sitting along at night?

DAVID CAMERON: Well, it is, by far, I mean, by a million miles, the biggest responsibility, the biggest challenge that I feel that I have personal responsibility for what happens, for the fact that we have troops in combat, for the fact those people are in harm's way, and for the fact that yes, tragically, some, you know, don't come home or come home having given their lives and -- and -- and given that sacrifice.

And also, and often we don't read about this, as well as those that die, there are those who lose limbs and who are wounded, sometimes terribly, who have a lifetime of difficulty because of that. I take full responsibility for that. And I think very hard all the time -- Are we in Afghanistan in the right way, for the right reasons? Are we doing the right thing? And how can we do it better? And that's one of the reasons I wanted to be here today, talking to the president, because in the end, it is going to be the British and the Americans and other key allies in NATO who either get this right or don't get it right.

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