The Conversation: Are We Leaving Afghanistan Too Soon?

Author David Kilcullen on troop withdrawal, Wikileaks and war corruption.

ByABC News
June 21, 2010, 12:53 PM

June 21, 2010— -- On Dec. 1, 2009 President Obama pledged to withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by July 2011 -- nearly 10 years after the war began. Now, six months later, some in the military community are beginning to ask if that date was picked prematurely. The administration has stood by the date, and their efforts in Afghanistan, even as June becomes one of the deadliest months for U.S. causalities since the war began.

But in today's Conversation, David Kilcullen, a senior advisor to the U.S. military on counterinsurgency, war strategy and counterterrorism, tells ABC's Diane Sawyer that the president's goal might be too ambitous. According to Kilcullen, if the U.S. leaves before stabilizing the region, it will leave power in the hands of a corrupt and instable government. The Taliban was born in Afghanistan and has deep ties to the region -- Kilcullen argues that pulling the troops too soon would leave the government, and its people, once again vulnerable to the Taliban's control.

Kilcullen's latest book titled "Counterinsurgency" lays out his plan for a stable withdrawal from Afghanistan. A former lieutenant colonel in the Australian army, he has spent time in both Iraq and Afghanistan and advised General David Petraeus and the U.S. State Department on counterinsurgency strategy.

Sawyer and Kilcullen also discuss if leaks of internal military documents on websites such as Wikileaks a significant threat to U.S. military security. And how corruption within President Hamid Karzai's government could leave it weak to attacks from terrorists