Clinton: Karzai ‘Must Do Better’ for U.S. Backing

By Jacqueline Klingebiel

Nov 15, 2009 8:00am

As President Obama mulls the possibility of sending more troops to Afghanistan, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton suggested on "This Week" that Afghan President Hamid Karzai "must do better" and there must be “tangible evidence” of stability if Afghan leaders want to keep U.S. support.

"We've delivered that message. Now that the [Afghan] election is finally over, we're looking to see tangible evidence that the government, led by the president but going all the way down to the local level, will be more responsive to the needs of the people," Clinton said.

Clinton suggested creating a major crimes tribunal and anti-corruption commission.

"We're going to be doing what we can to create an atmosphere in which the blood and treasure that the United States has committed to Afghanistan can be justified and can produce the kind of results that we're looking for," Clinton said on "This Week."

Clinton believes the administration can convince Americans that the war in Afghanistan can be won.

"I believe that's a case that can be made to the American people.  I have no doubt about that," she said.

Though she acknowledged there will be many critics of the policy, she thinks the president will win most Americans over. 

"I think the majority of Americans will know that this president has gone the extra mile, in fact more than that, to make sure whatever decision he makes is in the best interest of the of our country, that it is aimed at making the country more secure and supporting our men and women in uniform as they support the mission."

I asked Secretary Clinton about the dissent, first reported by the Washington Post, by U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, Karl Eikenberry, who expressed deep reservations about a further commitment of troops to Afghanistan because the Karzai government has not shown it is a credible partner. 

Secretary Clinton wouldn’t comment on Eikenberry’s message to the president, but when I asked her about what concrete steps Karzai would have to take to prove that sending more troops is not a waste of American lives and money, she said, "We have laid out for President Karzai and his government, certain expectations.  I’ve made it clear that we are not going to be providing any civilian aid to Afghanistan unless we have certification that if it goes into the Afghan government in any form, that we are going to have ministries that we can hold accountable."

See the entire exchange HERE:

- George Stephanopoulos

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