About “a half of al Qaeda has been eliminated in this last 18 months” White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said in an EXCLUSIVE interview on ‘This Week’.
Discussing the war in Afghanistan – which recently became America’s longest – with host Jake Tapper, Emanuel was bullish on the progress that has been made in war-torn country and insisted that President Obama’s July 2011 deadline for the beginning of a drawdown of troops was “not moving.”
“The president raised the troop level and civilian participation to 30,000. This…creat[ed] a window of opportunity for Afghanistan,” Emanuel said. “We are now at that point in Afghanistan, and in fact for the first time in eight years, nine years, they’re actually meeting their police recruitment requirements as well as their army recruitment requirements. So they themselves can take more and more responsibility for the security of that country,” he said.
Emanuel also discussed the Taliban and Al Qaeda. “About a half of Al Qaeda has been eliminated in this last 18 months,” he said. “So we’re taking the pressure to al Qaeda, taking the pressure to the Taliban.”
“All of this has been predictable in the sense that we knew once we created this window of opportunity, we were going to focus on what are the resources that are necessary, where are we going to be making progress,” he said. “But the July ’11 date, as stated by the president, that’s not moving. That’s not changing. Everybody agreed on that date. General Petraeus did. Secretary Gates did. As also Admiral Mullen agreed.”
Tapper pressed the chief of staff on just what that date meant – how many troops would be leaving then?
“That’s what you’ll evaluate based on the conditions on the ground. That is — but what had to happen prior to that was having a date that gave everybody, the NATO, international forces, as well as Afghanistan, that sense of urgency to move,” Emanuel said.